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Big name critics at Chilliwack anti-pipeline meeting

Kinder Morgan
Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline runs under farmland and residential areas in south Chilliwack.
— image credit: Paul J. Henderson

Opponents of Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion host a townhall meeting in Chilliwack Friday featuring some prominent critics of the industry.

Andrew Nikiforuk is a Canadian journalist who has been writing about the Alberta oil sands for close to two decades. His latest book published in September 2012 is The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude.

The Chilliwack chapter of the anti-pipeline group PIPE UP Network invited Nikiforuk as well as Lubicon Cree First Nation member Melina Laboucan-Massimo and CRED B.C. spokesperson Liz McDowell to the public event at the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn March 7.

Laboucan-Massimo is a long-time indigenous and environmental activist, and CRED B.C. (Conversations for Responsible Economic Development) is a group of more than 90 businesses and professionals who say they support “responsible economic development.”

Also scheduled to speak is local activist, and University of the Fraser Valley elder in residence, Eddie Gardner.

The meeting comes as the National Energy Board prepares for hearings into Kinder Morgan’s $5.4-billion proposal to nearly triple the capacity of its 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain oil pipeline from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 890,000 bpd.

Through Chilliwack, the pipeline runs under agricultural land, Kinkora Golf Course, residential areas in Sardis and two school yards.

The deadline was Feb. 12 to apply to participate in the hearings. After thousands expressed opinions on Northern Gateway, the federal government cracked down, limiting participation in the Kinder Morgan hearings to those who are either “directly affected” or have “relevant expertise.”

Individuals or organizations could apply as a commenter or an intervenor.

The City of Chilliwack has applied to comment, while the Fraser Valley Regional District has applied for intervenor status.

A number of other local organizations have applied, including: PIPE UP, the Yarrow Ecovillage, the Popkum Indian Band, School District 33 and 16 local Sto:lo bands referring to itself as the Sto:lo Collective.

The meeting hosted by PIPE UP at the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn is March 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Organizers say it is free and open to the public. The event will be hosted by affected property owner and WaterWealth Project community organizer Natalie Jones.

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