On April 12 the residents of Kitimat, British Columbia voted a resounding ‘NO’ against Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
The lead-up to the non-binding plebiscite saw innovative campaigning on behalf of community activists organized by Douglas Channel Watch. Community activists campaigned with very minimal resources, going head-to-head with Enbridge’s million dollar advertising efforts. The results of the vote reflect the significant effort of grassroots activists in Kitimat to protect the environmental integrity of the Douglas Channel and the Kitimat River.
Although the vote is non-binding, Kitimat’s City Council will vote this week on a motion that recommends the district take an official stance against the pipeline. The federal cabinet is expected to make a final decision on the pipeline in June.
The Northern Gateway pipeline consists of two pipelines. One would carry tar sands from Alberta to Kitimat’s port, where it would be stored and then loaded on to tankers for shipment to Asia. The other would carry natural gas used to dilute bitumen from Kitimat to Alberta. The project is estimated to cost $6.5 billion. In 2010 Laureate Jody Williams led the Nobel Women’s Initiative fact-finding mission Breaking Ground: Women, Oil and Climate Change to Alberta and British Columbia to hear from women activists living in communities impacted by the pipeline and tar sands development.