Global Exchange Executive Director, Jeff Ordower, seated right.

. . .

First thing Monday morning, I joined six other activists who locked their arms into steel barrels in front of the Kinder Morgan terminal in Richmond. For three hours, we stopped all trucks from coming in or out of the terminal. Eventually the police and fire department arrived and cut two of us out, allowing oil to again move.

Activists with Diablo Rising Tide blocked the terminal in solidarity with First Nations People for the second time in two weeks, demanding that the company halt its new Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada. In what many environmental and Indigenous activists are starting to call the “Standing Rock of the North,” the controversial project would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline from Edmonton, Calgary to Burnaby, British Columbia — an increase to 890,000 barrels per day. This project is based on the extraction of tar sands oil, one of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels.

The growing Bay Area resistance to this Kinder Morgan pipeline stands with over 140 tribes comprising The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The groundbreaking alliance of Indigenous nations formally opposes all tar sands pipelines crossing their traditional lands and waters. The recently elected government of British Columbia also opposes the project.

“Our First Nations relatives are not going to allow the Trans Mountain pipeline to go through their territories in Canada,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay. “Investing in any fossil fuel infrastructure is foolish. We all know that we must transition off of fossil fuels in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. Why waste so many resources on a losing proposition?”

Kinder Morgan, a spin-off from Enron, is one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies. The company claims it will start construction on its 715-mile Trans Mountain pipeline in September despite fierce opposition to the project from numerous First Nations and other communities and cities along its path.

“We salute all the water protectors, coast protectors and climate warriors on the front lines of these pipeline battles, standing up for Indigenous rights, the water and a safe climate,” said Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake on behalf of the Indigenous Nations who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “Resistance to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion tar sands pipeline and tanker project will be strongest in British Columbia, but it won’t stop there: Kinder Morgan can count on fierce resistance all over North America by Indigenous People and their allies.”

“This is clearly just the beginning,” said Patrick McCully of Rainforest Action Network. “This is the second week in a row that activists are blockading this facility — and you can expect protests up and down the West Coast as banks and oil companies continue to try and profit from climate chaos and human rights violations that will be caused by these disastrous tar sands pipelines. Companies like Kinder Morgan are on notice. Banks like JPMorgan Chase are on notice. Get out of tar sands. Get out of extreme oil. Get out of the climate change business and get on the right side of science and history.”

Our friends at Rainforest Action Network are also fighting the financing of this project as well, for without money, nothing can be built. Check out their report and learn how you can hold a Trump-supporting big bank like JP Morgan Chase accountable for destroying indigenous lands.