Activists continue to confront Enbridge, shut down Line 9

| December 23, 2015
Activists continue to confront Enbridge, shut down Line 9

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

On Monday morning three women were arrested in Sarnia for using the manual shutoff valve to shut down the controversial Enbridge Line 9 pipeline.  Vanessa Gray, Sarah Scanlon and Stone Stewart were charged with trespassing and mischief over $5,000.

Earlier this month, Enbridge received the go-ahead to reverse the flow of Line 9 and to begin moving diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands, across Ontario, to a refinery in Montreal. Line 9 has faced opposition from a number of the 18 First Nations along its route. Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is currently challenging the pipeline in Supreme Court, on the basis of non-consultation. The outcome could very well change the National Energy Board's (NEB) definition of consultation. The current guidelines are so vague as to be relatively meaningless. There is little the NEB needs to do to fulfill the definition of "consultation."

"It's clear that tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide," says Gray, a member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation. "I defend the land and water because it is sacred. I have the right to defend anything that threatens my traditions and culture."

"The fact that Line 9 is currently in operation really just adds to the urgency for people to act," says Stewart. The tar sands are a major factor in deforestation in the world and permanently contaminate over seven million barrels of water every day. In Sarnia the local Aamjiwnaang experience skewed sex ratios and high rates of respiratory illness because of nearby petrochemical refineries.

"The Crown is failing in their obligation to consult with First Nations about pipelines," Scanlon says. "As settlers it's our responsibility to respect Indigenous land rights and support those protecting the land and water on the frontlines."

Gray, Scanlon and Stewart were released on Tuesday, with conditions, and will prepare for their court date set for January 26, 2016. On Monday morning three women were arrested in Sarnia for using the manual shutoff valve to shut down the controversial Enbridge Line 9 pipeline.  Vanessa Gray, Sarah Scanlon and Stone Stewart were charged with trespassing and mischief over $5,000.

Earlier this month, Enbridge received the go-ahead to reverse the flow of Line 9 and to begin moving diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands, across Ontario, to a refinery in Montreal. Line 9 has faced opposition from a number of the 18 First Nations along its route. Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is currently challenging the pipeline in Supreme Court, on the basis of non-consultation. The outcome could very well change the National Energy Board's (NEB) definition of consultation. The current guidelines are so vague as to be relatively meaningless. There is little the NEB needs to do to fulfill the definition of "consultation."

"It's clear that tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide," says Gray, a member of Aamjiwnaang First Nation. "I defend the land and water because it is sacred. I have the right to defend anything that threatens my traditions and culture."

"

The fact that Line 9 is currently in operation really just adds to the urgency for people to act," says Stewart. The tar sands are a major factor in deforestation in the world and permanently contaminate over seven million barrels of water every day. In Sarnia the local Aamjiwnaang experience skewed sex ratios and high rates of respiratory illness because of nearby petrochemical refineries.

"The Crown is failing in their obligation to consult with First Nations about pipelines," Scanlon says. "As settlers it's our responsibility to respect Indigenous land rights and support those protecting the land and water on the frontlines."

Gray, Scanlon and Stewart were released on Tuesday, with conditions, and will prepare for their court date set for January 26, 2016.

Meg Borthwick is a freelance writer and moderates rabble's discussion board, babble.

Photo credit: Mike Roy

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

embedded_video

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.