If there is one thing that can be said about all the attention directed to Enbridge's Northern Gateway Project, it is that it's provided ample distraction for other projects and issues to move along without getting the same ass-kicking Enbridge is.
Take for example, the Pacific Trails Pipeline project ( also referred to as the KSL line). With minimal media coverage during the approval process, it has by and large flown completely under the radar of most British Columbians. That's a damn shame in my opinion, and I'm going to tell you why.
First of all, this pipeline is owned by Apache Corporation, Encana and EOG Resources (formerly Enron). It is going to be transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Kitimat in an expanded 42-inch diameter pipe and will assist in driving expansion of fracking in northeastern B.C., something the Liberals are all over like flies on manure. Unfortunately for the people in that area of B.C., the NDP are right on board with fracking as well, with energy critic John Horgan extolling the virtues as he perceives them.
It's all the same old crap, in different piles: the pipeline, the LNG plant in Kitimat, expansion of fracking in B.C. and the proposed Site C dam -- something Christy Clark already admitted is needed to power LNG plants and expansion in B.C. We are rushing around trying to get resources to a Chinese market that has already bought up so many LNG supply contracts around the world, and is now showing signs of the same economic decline and crunch the rest of the world has been experiencing for far longer.
But wait, if that isn't contentious enough for you already, here's the real point you might not have known about yet. The Pacific Trails Pipeline runs from just north of Summit Lake (about 55 kms north of Prince George) to Kitimat... and a large portion of this pipeline right of way follows the same route Enbridge plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline.
In fact, Pacific Trails has already begun to clear the pipeline route this summer, logging and cutting brush and many fear this is going to pave the way for Enbridge and mitigate much of the environmental impact in this area -- and Enbridge has it all that much easier for a portion of their total route.
In May 2011, Damien Gillis reported on an interview Enbridge CEO Pat Daniels did with Fox News in which he said:
"We think we're in a very strong position with regard to exporting Canadian natural gas in particular. We're currently putting forward our credentials to the proponents - EOG, Apache, Shell and others - that are working on moving Western Canadian natural gas out to the West Coast; and we would hope to be able to see some synergies with the right-of-way that we're working on with our Gateway pipeline out to the West Coast. So, yes, we're very interested in doing that and we would hope to be the pipeline provider for one or both of those alternatives. (emphasis added)"
While still largely unreported by major media outlets, there has already been physical opposition to the Pacific Trails Pipeline by the Unist'ot'en and the Likhts'amisyu of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, who evicted and escorted out Pacific Trails Pipeline drillers and their equipment back in November.
They continue to protest this pipeline and others that cross their territories and inevitably threaten the two main salmon spawning and food supply streams they rely on as the staple in their diet. These people don't go to Choices to buy eco-friendly organics, they live off the land -- the very land both these pipelines cross and I believe you can toss Kinder Morgan in there too. This is their land, and the land is as essential to their way of life as the air we all breathe.
In fact, in the last couple of weeks, an action camp was hosted by the clans of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, a peaceful gathering of protest which was attended by Chris Johnson, a writer who was left profoundly impacted by the experience. In this exceptional blog post, he writes:
"If what we have been hearing from the Unis'tot'en and Lhe Lin Liyin is to be believed, and I believe them, they will be putting their bodies in the path of this pipeline, as I witnessed them doing when a CANFOR logging contractor attempted to pass through the territory on the way to cut trees for the right-of-way for the pipeline...
"This is your wake-up call."
With active clearing already begun for the Pacific Trails/KSL line, the time has come for all British Columbians to inform themselves about what's going on and what they can do about it. This pipeline has already been approved, without a lot of fuss or fight, and this portion of the line is crucial to Enbridge who must already have an agreement in place with the partners behind Pacific Trails to use the same right of way in this area.
It might even be that if Enbridge's bitumen line is tanked, they will be in place to offer the option of LNG transport... another synergy between partners? This pipeline is a key part of all the fracking expansion in B.C. and yet so many British Columbians don't even know it was approved.
I don't hold all the answers.
I support sustainable and environmentally sound resource extraction and believe this can be achieved -- if the dedication and values are there in government to set the standard for such. Unfortunately, our governments have not been in line with this goal, seemingly willing to sell B.C. to the highest bidders and for that reason I do believe the people must set the standard and ensure their lands are protected, at any cost.
"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." ~Cree Proverb
(This was originally posted at www.lailayuile.com.)