Speaking Out for Water and the Trans Mountain Pipeline

Recent decisions by Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. to more than double the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline has been met with opposition and apprehension by locals, First Nations and various environmental organizations. For more details, we speak to Sheila Muxlow, an advocate for social and environmental justice. And controversy surrounds the recent decision by the University of Alberta to present one of three prestigious awards on the future of water to Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestle, a multinational corporation pushing for the privatization of water. Tune in to find out more!

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The University of Alberta stirred controversy when it announced that Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the CEO of Nestle, was being awarded an honorary degree for his work on water conservation. Photo by the Mouvement des Entreprises de France.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline has been owned and operated by Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. since 2005. This pipeline travels from Edmonton to Greater Vancouver and the Puget Sound. It currently transports up to 300,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude, resulting in more than 60 tankers within the Burrard Inlet. A recent announcement by the company on its plans to twin the pipeline, expanding export capacity to up to 700,000 barrels per day, has been met by opposition and apprehension by local communities, First Nations and environmental organizations. Terra Informa correspondent, Myles Curry, speaks with Sheila Muxlow, an advocate for social and environmental justice who currently resides in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

Who really speaks for water? And who is allowed to speak for water in Alberta, and globally? These were questions asked by many last week surrounding a controversial decision by the University of Alberta to award an honorary degree to Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestle. On March 1, the university presented degrees to three individuals who are said to make important contributions to the global conversation around the future of water. Many were baffled to see that one of these three was Brabeck-Letmathe. For more than 40 years he has worked for Nestle, a multinational corporation that pushes for the privatization and commodification of water worldwide, is known as the largest player in the bottled water industry, and whose human rights record is questionable.  The university claims to be encouraging a healthy public conversation about the future of water. But are some voices louder than others? Terra Informa correspondent Kathryn Lennon shares some clips of the conversations she heard last week.

News:

PEARL Arctic Research Station: Canadian scientists have announced that they’re shutting down the world’s most northerly research station. The PEARL arctic research station is perched at a latitude of 80 degrees north, on Ellesmere Island near Eureka.

More on this story: Winnipeg Free Press, CBC, Nature Blog, Vancouver Sun, Ontario Innovation Trust

Municipalities to get more say in wind turbines: The Ontario government says it will be giving locals more say over green energy projects. Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the province is reviewing the Green Energy Act, and will be placing more decision making power in the hands of municipalities.

More on this story: Sun News Network, CBC, Toronto Sun, The Star

Tree protestors arrested in Quebec: Last week we told you about residents of Wakefield, Quebec who were blocking construction crews from building a new highway past their town. Well, this past Thursday police moved in and arrested the tree sitters and those who were supporting them.

More on this story: The Council of Canadians, Low Down Online, CBC, Ottawa Citizen

Shell sues environmental groups, preemptively: Shell oil has taken an unprecedented step in an Alaskan courtroom this past week. The company is preemptively suing 13 environmental groups who they think may file suit against a recently approved oil spill response plan.

More on this story: US News, SCPR, Yahoo News

Exploratory work continues at proposed New Prosperity mine: This week, a BC mining company, Taseko Mines, plans to resume exploratory work on the proposed New Prosperity Mine situated near Fish Lake, 125 kilometers southwest of William’s Lake, BC. In January, an injunction brought on by the Tsilhqot’in First Nation blocked the company from the site.

More on this story: CTV BC, US News, Winnipeg Free Press

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