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

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A rapid transition away from “this toxic and outdated fuel,” to protect wildlife like salmon and orca, combat the climate crisis and maintain the well-being of our communities is necessary, he noted.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

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Williams Lake RCMP are asking the public for assistance locating Marion Louise Billy. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake RCMP seek woman wanted for theft, weapon possession

RCMP released the information Thursday, May 6

Audrey McKinnon was officially named the NDP nominee for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon confirmed as Cariboo Prince-George federal NDP nominee

The nomination comes during speculation the federal government

Gibraltar Mine general manager and community sports coach Ben Pierce moved to Williams Lake in 2008 for a career, and has fallen in love with the area while raising his family in the Cariboo. (Photo submitted)
OUR HOMETOWN: Mine manager on solid ground

Juggling academics, sports and a family was a challenge, but Pierce said he and Liselle made it work

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read