Canada and U.S. – Banks, Corporations and Railroads

The following stories show the variety of ways being used to try to stop fossil fuel projects in both the U.S. and Canada.

A federal appeals court affirmed on Wednesday a lower court ruling that held it could order a freight railroad company to stop running 100-car trains packed with crude oil through tribal land in Washington state.

There have been actions against the banks funding fossil fuel projects. And against the company, TC Energy, behind the Coastal GasLink (CGL) and other pipelines.

And there are a variety of reasons for these actions: Indigenous land and political rights, to bring attention to the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), to stop the pollution of waters with cancer causing chemicals, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to protect Mother Earth, now and for future generations.

It is interesting to read, but not surprising, that the alternate route of the CGL pipeline proposed by the Wet’suwet’en was rejected because that would be too close to the urban British Columbia communities of Smithers, Houston, Terrace and Kitimat. The original route of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) was near Bismark, N.D. When people there heard about that, they forced the route to be moved. Which is why the DAPL ended up being build next to the Standing Rock Reservation.

Protesters have blocked railways and barricaded ports in wave of dissent – and the pressure on Justin Trudeau has increased

As armed Canadian police officers advanced through snow towards their camp, the group of Indigenous women was absorbed in a drumming ceremony to honour the spirits of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country.

Rows of red dresses hung from a fishing line slung across the road, and from pine and spruce trees in the surrounding forest – each one a memorial to the thousands of Indigenous women killed or disappeared in recent years.

A pair of helicopters buzzed overhead, but on the ground, the women’s voices and drums drowned out the officers as they warned them to leave or face arrest.
“We remained in ceremony – even as the tactical officers surrounded us and began pick off individuals,” said one of the women, Dr Karla Tait.

Set amid dense evergreen forests near the bank of the Wedzin Kwah, or Morice River, the remote cabins at Unist’ot’en camp have become a place of healing for Indigenous youth, who take lessons on trapping and traditional medicines.

But the camp in north-western British Columbia is also the last line of defence in the Wet’suwet’en nation’s fight against a controversial natural gas pipeline.

The long-simmering conflict came to a head this week, as Canada’s national police force deployed helicopters, armed officers and dogs to enforce a court injunction and clear Indigenous activists who had been blocking work crews from the route of the C$6.6bn (US$5bn) Coastal GasLink project.

Twenty-eight people were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including three Wet’suwet’en matriarchs – Tait, Freda Huson and Brenda Michell

Canada: protests go mainstream as support for Wet’suwet’en pipeline fight widens by Amber Bracken at Unist’ot’en Camp and Leyland Cecco in Toronto, The Guardian, 2.14.20

March 10, 2020.
Over 70 of water protectors shut down the TC Energy (TransCanada) building in Charleston, WV in solidarity with Unist’ot’en! 4 people locked down together as part of the blockade, and a warrior flag symbolizing Indigenous power was raised, replacing the US flag outside of the building. Banners on site included, “SOLIDARITY WITH WET’SUWET’EN,” and “JUSTICE FOR MMIW [MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN].”

Despite the peaceful nature of the action, DOZENS of cops (primarily from the City of Charleston) responded in force, screaming and violently shoving protesters out of the lobby. They dragged the people whose necks were locked together outside, piling people on top of one another. Folks were repeatedly pushed around and roughed up, but luckily no one was seriously injured. After cops cut the locks around the necks of those locked down, the group dispersed. No arrests were made.

Today’s action was a response to Unist’ot’en Camp’s call for solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en struggle to defend their unceded territory in so-called British Columbia, Canada, from TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline and the Canadian government. Indigenous people, Appalachian people, and all land defenders stand in solidarity to say WET’SUWET’EN STRONG. SHUT DOWN CANADA. SHUT DOWN TC ENERGY.

Additional statements from folks who locked down today:

“I am here in solidarity with every missing Indigenous woman, with all of the earth and its peoples who have been pillaged and destroyed by the vicious and relentless systems of capitalist extraction and colonialism. I’m here because there is everything to lose — our means of survival and that of all other life on the planet, and because there has been so much loss. Because there is hope in the tiny rebellions. Unending solidarity with the Unist’ot’en fight, and the Wet’suwet’en people, now and forever.”

“The enclosure of land and extraction of its resources is an age old arm of settler colonial violence. I am here because colonialism is ongoing, because our lives and the lives of generations to come depend upon the liberation of the earth and all of its inhabitants. I am here because indigenous women are being disappeared, and that too is an arm of settler colonialism — the one that assaults the bodies of women, queer people, the vulnerable. We all need to fight together to win.”

Appalachians Against Pipelines 3.10.2020

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Photo credit to Dave Parry
No photo description available.
Photo: Appalachians Against Pipelines

Christopher Francisco Portland, Oregon, March 5, 2020. CHASE Bank closed when land protectors came.

Image may contain: 1 person, sky and outdoor

#ShutDownCanada !!
We are going to continue with the blockade on Highway 6 because what the Canadian RCMP is doing to the Salish on Wet’suwet’en Land is wrong and effects and Disrespects all of our indigenous rights, Canada is going to suffer real consequences because it was their own idea too put Highways and Rail Roads through indigenous territory’s and we will block it off so these corperate industries suffer the real consequences. As indigenous people we are Reclaiming our power ✊🏾 #Landback
Photo credits too Summer Leigh 📸

In the United States 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

A federal appeals court affirmed on Wednesday a lower court ruling that held it could order a freight railroad company to stop running 100-car trains packed with crude oil through tribal land in Washington state.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that a district court could force BNSF Railway Company not to use tracks on Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation land to carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation, saying the transport violated a long-standing agreement reached under the 1948 Indian Right of Way Act (IRWA) that limits the number of railcars that can use the tracks daily.

9th Circuit says Indian tribe may stop oil train traffic on reservation
by Sebastien Malo, Reuters, 3.5.2020

As rallies spring up across Canada to support Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs fighting the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C., an increasing number of people are wondering: Why doesn’t the company use an alternate route to avoid opposition?

Former NDP MP Nathan Cullen raised the idea several times when he was still an elected representative for the region. More recently, Green Party MP Paul Manly returned from a January visit to the region with the idea — one he said came from the hereditary chiefs themselves.

“The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs provided alternative routes to Coastal GasLink that would have been acceptable to them as a pipeline corridor,” he said in a statement last month.

“Coastal GasLink decided that it did not want to take those acceptable options and instead insisted on a route that drives the pipeline through ecologically pristine and culturally important areas.”

The $6-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline would move natural gas from near Dawson Creek, in northeastern B.C., to a coastal LNG Canada export terminal in Kitimat. It is a key component of a $40-billion project announced by the federal and provincial governments last fall.

Why it was rejected
In a letter provided to CBC by the Office of Wet’swuwet’en, Coastal GasLink says it explored the possibility of using the McDonnell Lake route through aerial and computer reviews, and by meeting with representatives of Pacific Northern Gas.

The letter — dated Aug. 21, 2014 — also outlines reasons Coastal GasLink rejected the route, including:

It would increase the pipeline’s length by as much as 89 kilometres, upping both the environmental impact and as much as $800 million in capital costs.

The pipeline’s diameter, at 48 inches (121 cm), is too large to safely be installed along the route. (Pacific Northern’s pipeline is between 10 and 12 inches (25-30 cm), and the proposed upgrade would be 24 inches or 60 cm.)

The McDonnell Lake route would be closer to the urban B.C. communities of Smithers, Houston, Terrace and Kitimat.

Re-routing the pipeline would impact an additional four First Nations who had not already been consulted by Coastal GasLink, which would add up to one year of delays to the construction process.

Why Coastal GasLink says it rejected a pipeline route endorsed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. Alternate route was too costly and posed greater environmental risks, company says by Andrew Kurjata · CBC News · Feb 16, 2020

This entry was posted in civil disobedience, climate change, decolonize, Indigenous, Native Americans, Uncategorized, Unist'ot'en, Wet’suwet’en. Bookmark the permalink.

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