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A rapid transition away from “this toxic and outdated fuel,” to protect wildlife like salmon and orca, combat the climate crisis and maintain the well-being of our communities is necessary, he noted.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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Anne Marie Sam seeks NDP nomination for Nechako Lakes riding

She also ran in 2017 but was defeated by BC Liberal John Rustad

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Most Read