Activists have chained themselves to oil pumping equipment in California to protest an energy pipeline that some environmentalists and American Indians have dubbed the “Standing Rock of the North.”
Protesters are blocking Kinder Morgan oil terminals in a demonstration aimed at scuttling the Canadian energy company’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Demonstrators argue that California’s most recent cap and trade legislation paved the way for the project, which would shuttle nearly 900,000 barrels of oil from Edmonton, Calgary to Burnaby, British Columbia.
“Thanks to California’s brand-new cap and trade climate bill AB 398, it’s now extremely likely that this very terminal we are blocking today will be a destination point for the tar sands oil that would be piped in by Trans Mountain,” Andres Soto of Communities for a Better Environment wrote in a statement Monday.
California’s cap and trade legislation “is an abomination and a threat to environmental justice worldwide,” Soto added. The law, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law earlier this month, leaves open the door for companies like Kinder Morgan to ship oil from Canada’s tar sands to Richmond, Calif., Soto argued.
California is slated to sell off allowances through auctions, starting this August. The state is doling out some allowances for free to help them remain competitive and avoid price spikes for consumers. Industry groups say the provision will help California residents dealing with already high gas prices. The deal will reduce the free allowances by 40 percent, starting in 2030.
Other activists protesting the project believe that Kinder Morgan is purposely bucking what environmentalists say is a shift away from fossil fuels toward green energy.
“Our First Nations relatives are not going to allow the Trans Mountain pipeline to go through their territories in Canada,” Pennie Opal Plant, an activist with the group Idle No More SF Bay, said in a press statement Monday.
“Investing in any fossil fuel infrastructure is foolish,” Plant added. “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 claims that construction on its 715-mile Trans Mountain pipeline will be completed in September, despite opposition from numerous American Indian tribes and other communities and cities along its path.
The Trans Mountain expansion project was not considered controversial during initial plans for construction, because it follows an already existing line that has been shipping oil from northern Alberta to the coast of British Columbia for decades.
But the pipeline started a wave of protests from activists, especially with regard to the last mile, which goes through one of Canada’s wealthiest and greenest suburban area. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and supposed climate change warrior approved the Trans Mountain in 2016, telling reporters at the time that it would be foolish to leave the country’s oil in the ground without a means of shipping it.
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