"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (please forward): Individuals from Six Nations and their allies have interrupted work on a section of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. The work stoppage began around 10am this morning. Individuals involved asked workers to leave, asserting that the land is Haudenosaunee territory guaranteed under the Haldimand deed, and that Enbridge’s workers were present without consent or consultation. 

“Meaningful consultation isn’t just providing information and going ahead without discussion – it’s giving the opportunity to say no and having a willingness to accommodate.” says Missy Elliot.

“Enbridge left a voice message on a machine with one person. That’s not meaningful – it’s not even consultation.” Emilie Corbeau, there in support of Six Nations points out. 

Those involved intend to host an action camp, filling the time with teach-ins about Six Nations history, indigenous solidarity and skill shares centering on direct action.

The group states that they’ve tried the other processes available to them and here out of necessity. “We’ve tried pursuing avenues with the NEB, the township and the Grand River Conservation Authority. Our concerns were dismissed. What other choice do we have if we want to protect our land, water and children?” Missy Elliot of Six Nations asks.

Under bill C-45 the section of the Grand River adjacent to the Enbridge work site and pipeline is no longer protected. Approximately half a million people rely on drinking water provided by the Grand River.

“This isn’t just about line 9 – or Northern Gateway, Energy East or Keystone XL. This is about pipelines – all of them.” Daniell Boissineau, of Turtle Clan, asserts. “This is about the tarsands and how destructive they are to expand, extract and transport.”

“This is a continental concern. It’s not just a Six Nations issue or an indigenous issue. We share the responsibility to protect our land and water as human beings.” Elliot states.”


Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is a test of our government’s will to inflict violence on indigenous people who are defending their land. Most of BC was never surrendered by its first inhabitants and most of the first nations there refuse to let this project through. I wrote this article to provide background info on this inevitable, government created conflict. Photos via Unist’ot’en Camp’s facebook page.

Read it now on VICE.com

Two years ago today, more than a million gallons of tar sands oil poured into the Kalamazoo River. The tar sands pipeline operated by Enbridge Inc. contaminated nearly 40 miles of the watershed, making it the largest & most expensive spill in the Midwest. 

It is still being cleaned up today. 

“My family was directly impacted by the spill. The toxic fumes gave us rashes, nausea and headaches. By taking a stand against tar sands we are fighting for people’s rights and health. Our River will never fully recover, but we can educate the country about the dangers of tar sands and the disastrous impact this type of spill can have so the same thing doesn’t happen to you.” -Susan Connolly, who lives by the river. 


photos by The Indignants, like them on Facebook

Toxic tour draws attention to environmental impacts

The impact of living in the shadow of Chemical Valley was on the minds of marchers during Friday’s Toxic Tour from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community centre.

Approximately 50 First Nation members and supporters left the community centre parking lot in the early afternoon chanting, “tar sands kill, pipelines spill,” on their way to the St. Clair River, and then on along the St. Clair Parkway to LaSalle Line and east to Highway 40.

"We’re standing in solidarity with other communities who are standing up to fracking and to pipelines running through their territories," said Vanessa Gray, a spokesperson with Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP).

Police stopped traffic on the parkway when the march paused as several members climbed down the bank to the St. Clair River to make an offering of tobacco to the water, before continuing on.

Among those marching were nine-year-old Faith Rogers James and her mother Christine Rogers.

Rogers said she’s concerned about smells from the chemical industries surrounding the Aamjiwnaang, as well as the impact living next to chemical plants has on her family’s health.

"You kind of question every day whether you should move away or you should stay," she said.

Rogers said she grew up at Aamjiwnaang where her relatives still live, making the decision of whether or not to stay a difficult one.

"It’s something you struggle with," she added.

My name is Meredith, a Welsh name meaning “guardian of the sea”. I am speaking today to voice my vehement opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline project and to share some of my story.

I came to North Beach, Haida Gwaii ten years ago and I stayed because it felt wild and clean and safe. My son was born five years ago in Queen Charlotte Hospital. His name is Fisher because no matter where he goes in his life and in this world, we want his name to always connect him to this land and to this coast, where the health of the sea determines the health of this ecosystem as a whole. Fisher eats regularly from our front yard. He knows when to set the traps for Dungeness crabs, he can dig razor clams with his bare hands, he invents recipes with seaweed and kelp and we brave hurricane force winds at night with headlamps to harvest rock scallops and cockles that wash up in front of our house. Like many children in this community, Fisher is well versed in the issues of pollution and climate change, and he can identify more plants, animals and constellations than most adults. And Fisher is also well versed in the aspects of proactive personal responsibility that go hand in hand with the reactive nature of protest. Our electricity at home is derived from the wind and the sun, we give thanks at meals for the local bounty on our plates, he knows about supporting local economies and bartering, and he doesn’t think that driving around with used vegetable oil in the fuel tank is funny or unusual. He is developing a deep and uncomplicated relationship with his natural world, and his delight is palpable when he makes a new discovery in his surroundings.

He has nothing to fear in this place. This for me is the greatest immediate risk of such a project. That we will have to live with fear, waiting for the morning when we hear that a very large crude carrier has lost its cargo to our coastline. Every winter storm will bring with it a feeling of dread that maybe this will be the day.

Before coming to Haida Gwaii I worked with Greenpeace International for 13 years. In 2002, as crew onboard the Rainbow Warrior, we were called to respond to the sinking of the oil tanker MV Prestige off the coast of Spain. After suffering damage in a storm the ship spilt in half and lost around 20 million gallons of oil, which washed up all along the coastline of Spain and Portugal. We came into port in A Coruna in Galicia where we were met by thousands of angry and desperate citizens, cheering and relieved that someone was finally paying attention to their ongoing struggle against political apathy towards their environment and their source of livelihood, the fishing industry. We picked up some journalists, scientists and activists and set out to find the worst concentration of the spill. As we neared what we thought was the epicenter the captain sent me up the mast to the crow’s nest to keep a lookout for the slick. After hours of searching I finally saw, far in the distance, that the sea state had changed. We were sailing through a heavy chop but a great patch of calm loomed ahead of us. The oil had literally subdued the ocean, made it docile, lethargic and heavy. As we approached the spill our ship was forced, under penalty of arrest, to stay out of the boundaries imposed by the Spanish authorities. After a day of cat and mouse chase we managed to get our small inflatable boats into the area and our helicopter over the spill so that the journalists had a chance to document the images that were broadcast through news agencies internationally. Being in that slick was one of the eeriest experiences of my life. It was as if the ocean was being suffocated. I have never been anywhere since that felt so void of life. This turned out to be the worst environmental disaster in both Spain and Portugal’s history with massive repercussions to both the fishing and tourism industries, and long-term health consequences for many of the people who participated in the clean up.

In 1999 I worked with an African American community in Lake Charles, Louisiana in an area of the states known as Cancer Alley. The town’s population was being decimated by cancer caused by dioxin and other industrial effluent dumped into the Mississippi River. A drive through the impoverished town showed maybe a third of the houses abandoned, not because people were leaving – where would they go? – but because they were dead. I watched old guys fishing on the riverbanks, knowingly catching and eating poisoned fish, clinging to their way of life. The term environmental racism was coined upon the realization that in the US it is poor and marginalized black and native communities that are the innocent victims of unregulated industrial pollution. I have travelled on the Amazon River from Belem to Manaus campaigning and blockading to put pressure on multinationals pillaging the rainforests. I spent weeks in the winter living in a little pod on the ice in the Beaufort Sea during the construction of one of British Petroleum’s undersea pipelines, hoping to illustrate to the world the impossibility of any clean up should the pipeline rupture under seven feet of ice. I have blockaded a US ship in Japan secretly carrying PCB’s for disposal, and a ship carrying newsprint made of pulp from old growth trees from our coastal rainforests, I have blockaded roads leading into pristine watersheds slated for clear-cut logging, I have knocked on doors and marched in cities and signed petitions and written to my MP’s. I have been tear gassed by riot police in two countries and arrested for environmental activism seven times in four countries. I have witnessed the effects of industrial mayhem on five continents.

I have lived and fought for years with grief from the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness trying to stem the drive of industry. I got really tired of fighting so I settled down and found a home. But now this danger is threatening my home and I won’t sit this one out.

I will fight.

My son Fisher is sitting here with me today because I want him to know that I tried. When he helps me raise wind turbines and hook up solar panels for our neighbours, he’ll know that we tried. And when he watches me get dragged off to jail for protesting the Northern Gateway Pipeline project, he’ll remember that I tried. And if that day does come when we have to put on HAZMAT suits to try and clean up the beaches, we will at least be able to say we tried.

With respect to the panel members as individuals, I find it difficult to believe in the relevance of this review process and nearly withdrew my registration to speak. The message I have for you to add to your review is one more resounding NO. But I am not really speaking today to the Joint Review Panel. I am speaking to my community and to my son. I stand in solidarity with all of the voices and stories and promises and opposition that I have heard and read during these hearings, and I will stand in support of the greater movement to protect this wilderness, at any cost.


—  Meredith Adams, my sister.

Friends (Canadian or otherwise)! Please, PLEASE sign this and send it along. It literally takes 30 seconds out of your day.

We, the First Nations of the Yinka Dene Alliance, have acted on our laws to ban Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and similar tar sands projects from our territories, and we are committed to using all lawful means to stop this devastating project from ever being built through our lands and waters. The federal government has approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, attempting to ignore the First Nations that have joined together to create a powerful and unbroken wall of opposition. At this critical time, we are asking you to stand with us to Hold the Wall.

An oil spill from a broken Enbridge Energy pipeline in Wisconsin has been contained, the company says, but it could not have come at a worse time for the Canadian company, which is trying to get approval for new pipelines in Canada and the United States. The 1,200 barrel spill happened on Friday near Grand Marsh in central Wisconsin, population 127. Enbridge Control Center operators shut down and isolated the line and deployed emergency crews to the site. Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1k2Gh)

VANCOUVER — British Columbia First Nations are wasting no time in enforcing their claim on traditional lands in light of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision recognizing aboriginal land title.

The hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan First Nations served notice Thursday to CN Rail, logging companies and sport fishermen to leave their territory along the Skeena River in a dispute with the federal and provincial governments over treaty talks.

And the Gitxaala First Nation, with territory on islands off the North Coast, announced plan to file a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Appeal on Friday challenging Ottawa’s recent approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta. {more}



You Are Being Watched- The Green Scare is in Full Swing

Corporate and state entities are working together as one to monitor environmental activists and anyone who threatens the future of dangerous fossil fuel extraction.

A moderate group of Pennsylvania environmentalists is monitored by Homeland Security and private entities, put on terror watchlists

TransCanada monitors a landowner 24/7 on her own property after seizing her land against her will via eminent domain

TransCanada hires off-duty police officers to police its construction sites

TransCanada considers deputizing local police for pipeline security

Those cops would have authority to act as agents of the state, even when being paid by a private entity (a foreign multinational company)

TransCanada advises local police on  potiential protests against Keystone XL- names prominent activists (with pictures), advises ways to prosecute them under eco-terror laws

Canada’s environmental activists labeled ‘threat to national security’

Enbridge gives tens of thousands of dollars to police departments along the route of the proposed Line 9 reversal

Monsanto hires Blackwater to spy on environmentalists and anti-GMO activists

There are many more examples.

ETA: First Nations specific:

Mounties spied on First Nations protest group (2011)

Harper government prepares for First Nations ‘unrest’

Canadian government spied on Cindy Blackstock, activist for children


How To Stop An Oil And Gas Pipeline: The Unist’ot’en Camp Resistance

"We’ve never ceded or surrendered our lands to anybody here. There’s no treaty. There’s no relationship built with any government in the past. None of our people signed anything to let them make decisions on our territories."

Northern Gateway faces new legal challenge from pair of First Nations

Two First Nations have launched a court challenge against the B.C. government, saying the province shirked its responsibility by failing to make a decision on the Northern Gateway project.

The Gitga’at First Nation and the Coastal First Nations say a proposed pipeline would put their coastal communities at risk of potential oil spills.

They argue the province signed an agreement to partner with the federal government without consulting them about the project in violation of their rights.

The First Nations say B.C.’s agreement with the National Energy Board meant it gave up power to review the project and impose tougher measures to protect the environment.

Coastal First Nations spokesman Art Sterritt says the province made a legal mistake by avoiding responsibility on the future of the project.

The Gitga’at have already asked the Federal Court of Appeal to recognize the band’s aboriginal title along the proposed tanker route where ships would carry oil from the pipeline.




Chemicals found in Kalamazoo River “rocks” raise health concerns

River still contaminated, report shows

December 16 2013 (Battle Creek, MI)  Local residents observed strange “rock” formations in parts of the Kalamazoo River affected when an Enbridge pipeline ruptured in 2010, spilling approximately one million gallons of tar sands oil into the river. Chemical analyses of these “rocks” and water column samples suggest that despite nearly three and a half years of cleanup efforts, the river is still contaminated with chemicals that raise serious human health concerns.

When Craig Ritter found the first “rock” about the size of a pool ball, he remembered thinking, “This is not natural.” The “rocks” crumbled when rubbed together and left an oil sheen on the water surface. Once Ritter found one, he began to see them all over the river bottom. Ritter created a video of the “rock” formations behaving in water that the EPA reviewed, but he did not receive a response from the agency.

Ritter, an engineer and self-described outdoorsman, collaborated with other concerned residents who were impacted by the Enbridge spill to send samples of the “rocks”, water from the Kalamazoo River, and a controlled documented sample from the oil spill, to be analyzed by Analytical Chemistry Testing, Inc. in Mobile, Alabama. The results were reviewed and corroborated by Geolabs Inc. in Massachusetts.


The analyses show that the oil extracted from the Kalamazoo River “rocks” is a fingerprint match for the oil that spilled from the Enbridge pipeline in 2010. Moreover, Robert Naman, the lead chemist on the project, found compounds identical to those found in the Gulf of Mexico when Corexit dispersants were mixed with crude oil in response to the BP Deep Water Horizon spill.  But according to the EPA and Michigan state officials, no Corexit dispersants or any other products were used during the Enbridge cleanup.


This has led the team of concerned residents to consider other possible explanations for the presence of Corexit-like compounds in the rock formations. One explanation could be the diluents themselves. The diluents used to thin tar sands for transportation and the dispersants used to break up oil slicks are petroleum distillates – industrial solvents, which share similar chemicals and have similar properties.

According to oil spill expert Dr. Riki Ott, the properties that facilitate the movement of these solvents through oil also make it easier for them to move through skin and into the human body. Ott said, “In effect, solvents act like an oil delivery system into the body. This makes solvent-oil combinations much more toxic than oil alone, as we learned after the BP disaster. With dilbit, the tar sands are already pre-mixed with the solvents.”


Solvents are known to be neurotoxins, mutagens, teratogens, carcinogens, and to cause hemolysis, liver and kidney damage, and autoimmune dysfunction. Indeed, major health problems have been reported by residents in Michigan since the spill.


The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) issued a report six months after the spill that found 61 percent of the residents from the impacted area had reported respiratory problems, headaches, dizziness, nausea and other central nervous system problems, skin lesions and rashes, among other things. These symptoms are known within the medical community to be characteristic of exposure to oil and solvents. However, two years after the Enbridge spill, the MDCH reported there were no long-term health issues.


“If we as common residents can see that major health issues are still a problem, why are the officials ignoring this?” asks Michelle Barlond-Smith, who lived on the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek at the time of the spill.


Meanwhile, the EPA has ordered Enbridge to finish its cleanup of the Kalamazoo River by Dec. 31st, 2013.


“How could this be?” asks Ritter, knowing the river is far from clean. “The fear is that no one knows the long-term health effects of exposure to tar sands oil. There is no reference book to go to. At this point we really need some answers about why these Corexit-like chemicals are present in the river. Right now it looks like either a dangerous product was used, or we need to start seriously studying the properties of dilbit for their health effects”.

Media Contacts:

  • Craig Ritter: 517-230-6394 - detroitcritter@hotmail.com

  • Michelle Barlond-Smith: 269-753-2141- mbarlondsmith@gmail.com

  • Robert Naman, ACT Laboratory, Inc.: 251-454-4582- robertnaman@aol.com

  • Riki Ott: 206-853-2855 - amend@rikiott.com


For general inquiries about this story, contact: thegreatlakesdilbitdefenders@hotmail.com

Press Tele-Conference Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 at 10am EST

Dr. Riki Ott, Craig Ritter, Robert Naman, and Michelle Barlond-Smith will be available to answer questions.


Dial in: +1 661-673-8605

Participant access code: 650881#


Photos available here. Please contact thegreatlakesdilbitdefenders@hotmail.com for more. Copies of the chemical analyses available upon request.


Video summarizing the discovery of the “rock” formations available here.


Timeline of events leading up to this release, relevant documents, and questions for the media available here.

For more information, see today’s news article by Andrew Nikiforuk in the Tyee.

Members of Hartley Bay First Nation have stretched a 4.6-kilometre long crocheted rope across B.C.’s Douglas Channel in a symbolic blockade of the future path of oil supertankers in northern B.C.

About 200 people from the coastal community gathered at the narrow channel Friday to make the point that they will do everything they can to stop the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

Happy Aboriginal Day.

A look at major pipeline project proposals in Canada

Keystone XL pipeline

Proposal: TransCanada Corp. wants to construct a large-diameter pipeline between Hardisty, Alta., and Steele City, Neb. It would run through Baker, Mont., where U.S.-produced light crude oil from the Bakken formation would be added to the synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands. A southern segment of the pipeline began shipping crude from Cushing, Okla., to the Houston area last January. The project has been held up for years in regulatory review by the U.S. government.

Obstacles: Keystone XL has become a super-charged political issue in the United States. Most Republicans support it and most Democrats oppose it, including President Barack Obama, who says it was designed to take Canadian crude oil to world markets.

Cost: $8-billion, up from $5.4-billion originally.

Capacity: 830,000 barrels per day.

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Proposal: Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. would build a second pipeline roughly parallel to its existing Trans Mountain line to move diluted bitumen and other products from Edmonton to its terminal in Burnaby, B.C., for shipment to largely Asia. The company filed an application to the National Energy Board a year ago and expects, if the regulatory application process is successful, to begin construction within a few years.

Obstacles: A storm of opposition from municipalities, First Nations, environmentalist groups and others. About 100 activists were recently arrested in Burnaby during exploratory work for the expansion project.

Cost: $5.4-billion.

Capacity: 540,000 barrels per day for the expansion.

Northern Gateway Pipeline

Proposal: Enbridge Inc. would build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alta., to Kitimat, B.C. The eastbound one would import natural gas condensate, and the westbound one would send diluted bitumen and synthetic crude from the oil sands to the West Coast for export to Asian markets. The project was proposed in the mid-2000s and has been postponed several times. Ottawa approved it earlier this year, but identified scores of issues to be resolved first.

Obstacles: The proposal has run into stiff opposition from First Nations, municipalities, environmentalists and oil sands opponents among others. The B.C. government has insisted on negotiated revenue sharing with Alberta.

Cost: $7.9-billion, although Enbridge has said it expects a significant increase.

Capacity: 525,000 barrels per day for the oil line; 193,000 barrels per day for the condensate line.

Energy East pipeline

Proposal: TransCanada Corp. would convert thousands of kilometres of natural gas pipeline to ship oil from Alberta east as far as Ontario. The pipeline network would then be extended to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. The project was announced on Aug. 1, 2013, and the company submitted a formal application with the National Energy Board this fall.

Obstacles: The project has come under criticism over the risk of spills and the potential impact on belugas in the St. Lawrence. Gas companies in Eastern Ontario and Quebec have also expressed concerns about capacity shortfalls during times of peak demand. The Quebec and Ontario governments have both linked environmental issues with their approval.

Cost: $12-billion

Capacity: 1.1 million barrels per day

MacKenzie Valley oil pipeline

Proposal: The Northwest Territories government recently said it is contemplating an oil pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to its “Arctic Gateway” of Tuktoyaktuk that would largely follow the route of the decades-old MacKenzie Valley gas pipeline plan drawn up by Imperial Oil Ltd. and partners. From Tuktoyaktuk, oil could be shipped to global markets. The concept was highlighted in a recent report by Canatec Associates International Ltd., which pointed to Arctic Ocean shipping opportunities due to retreating sea ice.

Obstacles: Opposition from First Nations and environmental groups, as well as the high price of construction.

Cost: Unknown.

Capacity: Unknown.