Building a powerful movement for justice
The Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tankers Project (TMX) poses unacceptable risks to our oceans and our climate. Indigenous Nations’ legal victories have slowed construction and forced regulators to re-assess the pipeline expansion project.
Three Indigenous Nations — Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Coldwater — joined forces to pursue legal actions against TMX.
The people-powered movement that grew to support them under the "Pull Together" banner gained incredible momentum. All across the country and around the world, allies organized community events, used their online networks to fundraise, and made generous donations in solidarity with powerful Indigenous leaders.
Together, we raised more than a million dollars, and forced the company to delay construction.
about this campaign
Despite mounting costs and collapsing oil markets, Canada is doubling down on efforts to build a pipeline from the tar sands to the west coast. The plan is to run a pipeline through salmon-bearing streams, densely populated urban areas, parks and Indigenous communities before loading ships with toxic diluted bitumen. The project would mean a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic in the Salish Sea. The resulting tanker congestion plus the carbon bomb from burning the dirtiest oil on the planet would blow past Canada's climate targets, spell extinction for southern resident orca whales, and push the planet past the tipping point.
Building a movement for justice
Working together under the banner of Pull Together, RAVEN and Sierra Club BC energized a great wave of resistance. By calling on water protectors, Indigenous rights activists, climate champions and kick-ass creatives, we raised over a million dollars and brought together an unprecedented alliance to back Indigenous justice.
What we achieved
We launched Pull Together back in 2014 together with seven Nations in British Columbia. People wanting to defend our climate and stand with Indigenous Nations came up with amazing ways to organize, fundraise and donate.
Thanks to you, we raised more than $600,000 dollars, and built an incredible movement that stopped the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and defeated one of the biggest oil companies on the planet.
Then, with unprecedented solidarity between Indigenous leaders and thousands of Pull Together allies, we raised ANOTHER half million dollars to back legal challenges that resulted in the Trans Mountain project being delayed.
In the first round of lawsuits, First Nations, environmental groups and municipal governments challenged the original 2016 approval at the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA), and won a decisive victory in August 2018. That decision quashed the approvals, and sent the Project back for a redo of the National Energy Board review and constitutionally-required consultation with impacted Indigenous peoples.
The Canadian government — which has spent billions of dollars to buy out Kinder Morgan, since renamed Trans Mountain (TMX) — then embarked on a second round of consultations with First Nations. In June, 2019, Canada re-approved TMX, a move that was swiftly followed by Indigenous Nations filing a fresh set of legal challenges to the project.
“Water is life. This is what we’ve been trying to protect: our watershed. Because it’s not IF there’s a spill,: it’s WHEN.”
- CHIEF LEE SPAHAN, COLDWATER NATION
SUPREME COURT DENIES LEAVE TO APPEAL
The Supreme Court’s decision marks the latest chapter in a years-long legal effort led by Indigenous nations working to defend their lands and waters from Trans Mountain. “The journey to defend communities and the environment from TMX has been long and difficult, and despite today’s decision, this journey isn’t over." Eugene Kung, staff lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL RULING
Federal Court of Appeal dismissed significant Indigenous legal challenges to Trans Mountain: a disappointing decision that vitally affects the First Nations on the pipeline and tankers route. Nations prepare to appeal the decision to Supreme Court.
FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL HEARINGS
After Week to End TMX raises $95k, Tsleil Waututh, Squamish and Coldwater Nations face court with cases against Trans Mountain, presenting arguments that Canada failed to adequately consult Indigenous Peoples on the pipeline and tankers project.
INDIGENOUS NATIONS FILE NEW CASES
Confident of another win, Tsleil Waututh, Squamish, Goldwater and Secwepmec Nations join forces to Pull Together with concerned citizens and launch legal challenges against TMX. In just one month, $75k is raised.
Canada announces re-approval of TMX without making significant accommodations of First Nations concerns. Legal experts anticipate a new round of legal challenges to the project could succeed based on inadequate consultation and conflict of interest given Canada (the owner of the pipeline) also acted as consultative and regulatory agent.
Federal Court of Appeal overturns the Canadian government’s approval of TMX, saying Canada 'fell well short of the mark' on consultation with First Nations. Court orders Canada to go back to the drawing board and redo the approvals process: construction halted.
Canada buys Trans Mountain
Incredibly, as Texas oil giant walks away from beleaguered TMX, Canada steps in to use taxpayers money to buy the aging pipeline and finance the expansion project.
KINDER MORGAN/TMX PROJECT APPROVED
The Canadian government officially gives the stamp of approval to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion. A new round of Pull Together: The People vs. Kinder Morgan, is launched immediately.
COURTS QUASH ENBRIDGE
Setting a powerful precedent for Indigenous consultation under S.35 of Canada's Constitution, Federal Court of Appeal quashes approval of Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
PULL TOGETHER LAUNCHED
What started with a spaghetti dinner in Terrace raises almost $350,000 in just over six months. Volunteers from across BC organize 87 community fundraising events, 37 businesses contribute and more than 3,300 individuals donate.
The following letter has been signed by a growing list of NGOs, community organizations and activists. It calls on police who enforce injunctions that violate Indigenous rights to uphold international agreements (UNDRIP, Paris Climate Accord) and consider their special responsibility to treat Indigenous Peoples with fairness after generations of enforcing brutal residential school family separations.
During the summer of 2018, a stunned world watched in sorrow as a mother orca, Tahlequah, carried her dead newborn for at least 17 days for over 1,000 miles off the Pacific Northwest coast in…
Amid a climate crisis, the assertion of Indigenous rights in the courts is a powerful tool that supersedes electoral politics. Parties may come and go, but legal precedents leave an enduring legacy for future generations. …
Canada has doubled down on efforts to build a pipeline from the tar sands to the west coast. The plan is to run a pipeline through salmon-bearing streams, parks and Indigenous communities before loading ships with toxic diluted bitumen. The project would mean a seven7-fold increase in tanker traffic in the Salish Sea. The resulting tanker congestion plus carbon bomb from burning the dirtiest oil on the planet would blow past Canada's climate targets, spell extinction for southern resident orca whales, and push the planet past the tipping point.
Squamish Opposition: The pProject poses a serious threat to Squamish’s home, to their continued reliance on the marine and aquatic environment for the practice of their rights, and to the survival of the Southern resident killer whale – a species of cultural and spiritual significance to the Nation that is recognized to be in a critical state.
Tsleil Waututh Opposition: Tsleil-Waututh means “people of the inlet” in Halkomelem. This name reflects TWN’s deep geographic, physical, cultural and spiritual connection to Burrard Inlet. The increase in marine traffic associated with the project would unfold directly offshore from TWN’s primary community, within the waters that are its traditional source of harvesting, and over which it has a strong claim to Aboriginal title. With decades of dedicated work spent restoring a healthy clam harvest and fishery in Burrard Inlet, Tsleil Waututh are committed to stopping a project that threatens their ecosystem, culture and livelihoods.
Coldwater Opposition: The TMX project is currently routed through Coldwater River valley which is home to the Coldwater Indian Band, a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation. There, the route has been approved to run through a new corridor just outside the eastern edge of the Coldwater reserve, endangering the sole source of drinking water for 90% of Coldwater residents.
Coldwater asserts that the project as proposed creates an unacceptable risk to their community’s aquifer.