Direct action to play bigger role in opposition of Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

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      A few days ago, activists held a training session on non-violent direct action in downtown Vancouver for people opposed to the expansion of the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline.

      About 100 people showed up, according to Sven Biggs, energy and climate campaigner with Stand, one of the groups that organized the event at SFU Harbour Centre on November 12.

      “People are waking up to the reality that Justin Trudeau is moving toward an approval on Kinder Morgan,” Biggs told the Straight in a phone interview. “A lot of people are shocked and surprised by that because many of them voted for him.”

      The prime minister and his federal Liberal cabinet are expected to make a decision on the plan to twin the 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain oil pipeline. which runs from Alberta to British Columbia, on or before December 19.

      During the last election campaign in 2015, Trudeau promised to push the reset button on all proposed pipeline projects.

      However, the review process for the $6.8-billion Kinder Morgan expansion project went on after the election.

      In May of this year, the National Energy Board (NEB) granted conditional approval for the project, which will triple the pipeline capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

      On November 17, Trudeau announced in Vancouver a $1.5-billion marine protection plan, which many guessed was made to pave the way for the approval of the pipeline expansion.

      The wouldl lead to an increase in the number of oil tankers moving through the Burrard Inlet from around 60 per year to more than 400.

      Biggs’ Stand, formerly ForestEthics, and other organizations plan to hold more direct action training sessions.

      Referring to the large number of people who attended the November 12 training, Biggs said: “I think there’s…a pretty strong determination to do whatever it takes to stop this project.”

      He explained that direct action includes sit-ins, occupations of politicians' offices, and traffic blockades.

      “Those kinds of tactics are going to become a bigger part of the campaign after the cabinet decision,” Biggs said.

      A rally against the Kinder Morgan project is scheduled for Saturday (November 19), beginning at noon at Vancouver city hall. The demonstration will be followed by a march to Library Square in downtown Vancouver.