Workers clean up the oil spill in Abbotsford near Trans Mountain’s Sumas Pump Station on Saturday, June 13, 2020. (Shane MacKichan file photo)

Inclusion of Indigenous reps after oil spill part of ‘reconciliation’: Suzuki Foundation

David Suzuki Foundation calls for transparency, inclusion of First Nations monitors after oil spills

Ensuring local Indigenous reps are involved quickly after an oil spill like the one in Abbotsford last week is a key part of “reconciliation and environmental justice,” says the director general for the David Suzuki Foundation.

The crude oil spill from the Trans Mountain pipeline at the Sumas Pump Station is a stark reminder that accidents are bound to happen with this type of fossil fuel infrastructure.

READ MORE: Drone photos show the scale of spill

“As long as Canada continues to transport oil, spills will happen – and they will always create the risk of detrimental impacts on nature and people,” said Jay Ritchlin of the David Suzuki Foundation.

The spill site is near a cultural site and burial grounds of the Sema:th First Nation and Stό:lō Coast Salish Peoples.

It’s seen as “unacceptable” that Sema:th First Nation’s monitors were not cleared to access the site for 12 hours after the spill incident was reported.

Full transparency and inclusion of Indigenous nations whenever any type of spill occurs is called for.

“They need to have continuous access to monitoring stations and the ability to see with their own eyes what has occurred on their unceded territory. This is a key part of reconciliation and environmental justice.”

A rapid transition away from “this toxic and outdated fuel,” to protect wildlife like salmon and orca, combat the climate crisis and maintain the well-being of our communities is necessary, he noted.

“It’s concerning that the spill occurred where a lake used to exist and where the groundwater is a local potable water source,” Ritchlin said.

The spill leaked 1,195 barrels, which is up to 190,000 litres, of oil just south of the Lightning Rock site. As much as five large trucks would be required to transport the equivalent amount of crude oil.

READ MORE: Pipeline shut down as cleanup started

Trans Mountain has reported approximately 84 spills since 1961 – which is more than one a year.

In this case, the oil flowed to an adjacent field owned by Trans Mountain and leased for agricultural uses. The company’s on-site monitoring has not indicated an immediate threat but provincial authorities need to confirm that.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

abbotsfordpipeline leakTrans Mountain pipeline

Just Posted

COTR honours Orange Shirt Day

A virtual event to raise awareness about Orange Shirt Day is being hosted early on Sept. 22

Invermere gets new CAO

Invermere found his new CAO after a long period of research.

Radium council discusses short term rentals

RHS council are elaborating the second draft plan for STR

Farmers’ Institute report highlights emerging local food scene

Beef cattle ranching remains mainstay of valley agriculture

B.C.’s top doctor encourages Halloween costumes to include masks

Dr. Bonnie Henry will soon be releasing guidelines on how to safely trick-or-treat this Halloween

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

Reincarnation, baby! Music-making B.C. couple celebrate ‘miracle’ pregnancy

‘I (said) to Adam, ‘I really think this is your brother reincarnated,’ Elise Estrada says

Most Read