Cedar George-Parker addresses a crowd of protesters opposed to Kinder Morgan’s plan on the Trans Mountain pipeline extension on April 7 in Burnaby, B.C. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

B.C. Indigenous leaders head to Texas to urge investors to drop pipeline project

Chiefs plan to attend a Kinder Morgan investors meeting in Houston for a last-ditch appeal

Two B.C. Indigenous leaders are headed down to Houston to make an 11th hour appeal for Kinder Morgan investors to halt the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band near Chase, and Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative of North Vancouver, planned to attend the company’s annual stockholders meeting on Wednesday morning to tell investors about Indigenous opposition to the project, which would twin an existing pipeline that extends from central Alberta to the B.C. coast.

READ MORE: Chilliwack-area chief touts economic benefits of pipeline deal

“Kinder Morgan stockholders have not been properly advised that Indigenous rights are recognized in the Canadian constitution and have won again and again through the courts,” said Wilson in a Union of BC Indian Chiefs news release Monday.

“Kinder Morgan does not have the required consent of Indigenous Nations along the pipeline and tanker route, and it never will. The executives at Kinder Morgan have a responsibility to make these facts well known to its stockholders.”

The pair also plan to present investors with the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s shareholder proposal on sustainability reporting, which they say found that widespread opposition to a project can be damaging to its financial viability.

The proposal is being presented on behalf of the Comptroller of New York State, an investor in Kinder Morgan.

In a statement, Kinder Morgan noted that George had attended their annual general meeting in the past.

“Kinder Morgan respects Indigenous rights and title in Canada and the approvals granted for the Trans Mountain expansion project followed many years of engagement and consultation with communities, Indigenous groups and individuals,” a spokesperson said in an email.

“The project has signed 43 Agreements with Aboriginal groups in BC and Alberta, 33 of which are located in BC. Where our project will cross First Nation Reserve lands, we have received their expressed consent.”

The expansion has faced continued resistance in B.C., with Premier John Horgan fighting it in court as Alberta and the federal government hinting at possibly financially backing it to keep Kinder Morgan in the game.

READ: B.C.’s dispute over bitumen control likely to end up in Supreme Court: lawyers

Kinder Morgan halted all “non-essential” work on the pipeline in early April ahead of a May 31 final investment deadline.

Hundreds of people have been arrested for violating a court injunction against protesting too close to the Kinder Morgan work sites in Burnaby.

More than 150 have been charged with civil contempt and were set to appear in court Monday to find out which protester will instead face criminal charges.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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