Secwepemc run for clean water, against Kinder Morgan pipeline

Secwepemc runners antikm

Secwepemc youth run for clean water. Photo: CFJC Today

First Nations group hoping to bring more awareness to pipelines, environment

By Chad Klassen, CFJC Today, March 19, 2018

KAMLOOPS — It’s a run for clean water, a journey that began in Valemount on Saturday and wraps up in Kamloops on Tuesday.

The runners and walkers and support team are hoping to bring more awareness about environmental impacts happening within Secwepemc territory. 

“Our prayer is for clean water and protection of the watershed,” said organizer Miranda Dick. “When we’re looking ‘what does that look like?’ we’re talking about the deforestation, we’re talking about all of these larger corporations coming encroaching onto our territory.”

The group is walking for the third day in a row and have now clocked over 300 kilometres. The biggest concern is pipelines and how they may impact clean water, including the Kinder Morgan pipeline that runs through Whispering Pines, where they were walking on Monday.

“Major pipelines, not just within Secwepemc territory but all throughout,” said Dick. “We’re looking at the impacts of how are we impacting all along that whole route, and if the people here are allowing that to happen, we can’t becaquse we’re looking at harming other territories and other people in the nation.”

Whispering Pines members voted unanimously in favour of the twinning of Kinder Morgan before the band signed a $5 million agreement in 2014. Chief Mike LeBourdais noted there are safety measures in place.

“A lot of that agreement was environmental oversight on making sure the pipeline is safe when it crosses streams and rivers,” said LeBourdais. “We’re trying to incorporate safety around deer fawning beds and moose caving grounds. Our engineers will have oversight over this stretch.”

Whispering Pines has had the pipeline go through their community since 1972 and have a good grasp on its impact. LeBourdais, though, said opposition like the one from this group is not a bad thing, even though the agreement has been signed.

“It’s okay to be concerned,” he said. “You have to engage with Kinder Morgan and the federal and provincial governments in voicing concerns. Oddly enough, we need that opposition, we need that skepticism to make sure we’re doing it right.”

The group has received support along the way from their fellow Secwepemc members. They said they’re not deterred by the agreement with Kinder Morgan that’s been signed by 10 of 11 First Nations communities through which the pipeline runs.

“We can’t and do not give authority for any of the signed agreements,” said Dick. “We cannot sell our children’s future on that.”

Posted on March 20, 2018, in Oil & Gas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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