Trans Mountain protesters target Washington port with kayak flotilla

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      A group of environmental activists disrupted operations at a port in Vancouver, Washington, yesterday (September 2).

      Dozens of kayakers paddled around a cargo ship that the group says was carrying equipment destined for the Trans Mountain pipeline that runs from Alberta’s oilsands to a port in Burnaby, B.C.

      “Kayakers gathered in a large flotilla to protest in front the cargo ship carrying the pipe and raised a 70-foot-long banner that says ‘Stop Trans Mountain’ to bring attention to the growing opposition in Washington and Oregon to the tar sands expansion project, which threatens the shared waters of Canada and the U.S.,” reads a media release distributed by the group, which calls itself Mosquito Fleet. “Earlier that day, activists scaled machinery on a nearby dock and hung a banner that read ‘#StopTMX: No Tar Sands’.”

      The release explains that the Washington State port currently serves a key role in the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

      “For the past several months, pipe has been loaded on trains at the port and transported north to Canada,’ it reads. “The Canadian federal government, which owns the pipeline, has pledged to begin construction this fall despite widespread opposition.”

      Trip Jennings / Mosquito Fleet

      An expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline would triple the amount of diluted bitumen that flows from Edmonton to a port on the Burrard Inlet in Burnaby. It would increase the number of oil tankers moving through Burrard Inlet from some 60 ships per year to more than 400.

      Legal challenges have delayed the project. The Trudeau government purchased the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada for $4.5 billion in August 2018. Earlier this month, the National Energy Board said construction could resume.

      Sam Krop, a member of the Mosquito Fleet flotilla, is quoted in the group’s release calling on state officials to work to ensure that Washington plays no role in the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

      “We’re here to say no to the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and yes to a clean energy future and a livable future,” Krop said quoted there. “We’re asking Washington Governor Jay Inslee to walk his talk and make sure this pipeline does not go through our backyard, and we are not playing right of way for this pipeline.”

      Trip Jennings / Mosquito Fleet

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