A B.C.-based First Nations community has added its name to the list of opponents of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Following a ceremony Saturday, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, an indigenous law ban on tar sands pipelines through First Nations traditional territories. The Declaration also bans tar sands oil tankers in the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon on the north and south coasts of B.C.
To date, the Declaration has been signed by more than 100 First Nations. “Tsleil-Waututh stands together with First Nations and all British Columbians who do not support pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic,” Chief Justin George said in a statement. “As People of the Inlet, it is our birthright and obligation to care for the lands and waters of our territory. Pipeline expansion is a risk too great to accept.”The community has publicly opposed a proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the terminus of which is on its territory on the south shore of Burrard Inlet in Burnaby. It says the expansion would more than double current pipeline capacity, potentially resulting in an oil tanker per day entering Burrard Inlet. “This is not just a Tsleil-Waututh issue or an aboriginal rights issue. This is an issue that could impact everyone’s quality of life,” says George. “Vancouver is one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world. For the community as a whole, there is just too much at stake to allow such a project to proceed.”