Each year, Surfrider Foundation Canada leads thousands of British Columbia volunteers in coastal protection. Chapters in Vancouver, Victoria and Tofino bring together residents by pairing a passion for ocean recreation with environmental stewardship. Their activities include beach cleanups, citizen science, sporting events, public awareness and environmental education.
While the fabric of Surfrider volunteers resembles a kaleidoscope as colourful as Canada’s population they are united by a common thread: a love for the ocean. Their mission – to protect and enjoy waves, oceans and beaches – has championed over 400 legal wins on coastal protection and preservation across North America since 1987.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion review process flies directly in the face of the vows he made during his electoral campaign only one year ago.
This pipeline promotes the increase of extraction, transport, and burning of fossil fuels, all of which are contributing to climate change and a host of related hazards, costs, and threats to every community, coastline and economy in the world, including our own.
Surfrider Foundation VP Gillian Montgomery states, “The short term economic benefit to Canada from Kinder Morgan will not outweigh the disastrous environmental impacts to the marine and coastal ecosystems. We are actively working throughout British Columbia and Washington to support the businesses, nonprofits, elected officials and First Nations taking a stand against pipelines to protect the coastlines and the Salish Sea.”
Surfrider Foundation recognizes that climate change is a scientific reality that will include measurable changes to the ocean including warmer waters, more acidic oceans, sea level rise and storm severity that threaten coastal communities and the health of beaches, and coastal and ocean ecosystems.
Recent spills in Bella Bella demonstrate that Canada’s “world class response plan” does not have the ability to protect British Columbia’s coastline. The threefold increase of over 400 tankers planned to pass within 50 kilometers of Long Beach, Tofino BC will inevitably wreak havoc on the natural beauty of this treasured hotspot for tourism and ocean recreation.
Local residents who have witnessed previous spills have rallied and the Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce was the only intervenor in BC taking a stand against the pipeline expansion. According to the Chamber, “Tofino and the west coast of Vancouver Island lie outside the spill response area for the Kinder Morgan pipeline despite the fact this remote community would be on the front line in the event of a tanker accident.” The local Surfrider Pacific Rim chapter continues to support and thank the Chamber efforts to protect this coast from risk of oil spills.
Surfrider Vancouver chair Matthew Unger says the organization is, “calling British Columbia residents to come together and speak out against the disregard for research and consultation in the Trans Mountain review process. The Canadians who elected Trudeau thought they were getting leadership through the promised overhaul of the review process, it’s sad to see how misguided our hopes were.”
Surfrider Foundation Canada believes that British Columbia residents are capable of stopping the pipeline expansion from completing. The organization is urging the public to speak out against the Kinder Morgan pipeline by reaching out in writing to your Member of Parliament, British Columbia MLA and local city officials.