Reported by Tanner Bokor
Though the federal government approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, both major student coalitions in B.C. say the fight isn’t over yet.
Simka Marshall, chairperson of the B.C. Federation of Students, says that while she and other students in B.C. are disappointed to see the pipeline push through given vocal opposition, her organization will continue to advocate against the pipeline.
Students plan to continue their fight against pipelines
“Students in B.C. continue to stand in opposition to Kinder Morgan,” said Marshall, “so we will work with whatever organizations and initiatives are ongoing to support their work to fight against the pipeline.”
The Kinder Morgan pipeline would connect the Alberta tar sands to a facility on Burnaby Mountain to the tune of 890,000 barrels of bitumen per day.
Tuesday’s approval of the project, and rejection of the Embridge Northern Gateway project in Kitimat, B.C., comes at the end of a four-year approval process mired by strong opposition from indigenous, student and environmental organizations.
Alex McGowan with the Alliance of B.C. Students said that his organization is concerned that the decision disregards the voices of the groups the pipeline will impact.
“I’m concerned to see the federal government making decisions without properly consulting with the people, especially the indigenous people, of B.C.,” said McGowan. “Students need our government to make forward-looking decisions and invest in an economy that is not reliant on fossil fuels.
Voting is one way students can speak out
Though both groups say that the decision is of concern to B.C.’s youth, they disagree on steps moving forward. McGowan says the ABCS, as a post-secondary policy-oriented group, says the best way for youth to take action is at the ballot box.
“The upcoming provincial election is a clear opportunity to tell decision-makers and candidates that these issues matter to us,” McGowan said.
Marshall and the BCFS says that the decision affords an opportunity for groups to coalesce together and plan future actions to fight against the pipeline.
“I think this is an opportunity for all of us to come together and become a solid movement and prevent this from moving forward,” said Marshall.
But perhaps the largest statement following the decision is one of hope in the wake of disappointment and shock.
“What has been put forth can be rescinded,” said Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group Organizer Kim McMartin. “Speak up, get involved, and get your message out.”
Listen to this audio of protesters at the Nov. 19 Kinder Morgan protest in Vancouver. Clip courtesy of reporter Lauren Boothby.