Secwepemc Land Defenders Claim Victory Over Costly TMX Construction Failure
October 30, 2020
On October 29, 2020, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Crown Corporation announced major delays in construction. Due to “technical challenges’ Trans Mountain’s pipe has become stuck underneath the Secwepemcetkwe (Thompson River) requiring them to re-drill the existing hole on their proposed expansion project.
On the same day TMX announced it’s costly construction delays, the Secwepemc people hosted a Water Ceremony at the proposed river crossing along Airport Way, Kamloops, in unceded Secwepemc Territory. Secwepemc Hereditary Daughter and Land Defender, Miranda Dick says “every day this project is delayed it means that it is less likely to ever be built. Our ancestors are watching over us and answering our prayers.” This ceremony is part of the Hereditary family’s six year journey to educate the Secwepemc people on the risks posed by TMX pipeline expansion and motivate them to take action. In October Secwepemc Land Defenders set up a camp at the proposed underwater river drill site which culminated in the arrest of nine people including the Hereditary Chief and two of his daughters.
“We, the Secwepemc people, have never signed, ceded, or surrendered our territory and we have not given consent to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion,” Dick said at the ceremony along the banks of the Secwepemcetkwe (Thompson River).
Now, with the sandy shores of the Secepemcetkwe under a thin layer of snow, the camp has closed for the winter, but the ceremony and actions to stop the pipeline continue. The Secwepemc have reaffirmed time and time again that “we are going nowhere. We live here, we have always been here for time immemorial in ceremony in care of Mother Earth to protect clean water.” Dick went on to add, “the Canada Government cant own a pipeline and have in trust care for the Department of Indians Affairs, it is a conflict of interest. The Hereditary structure is standing. The proof is in the Shuswap Okanagan confederacy. No one can not sell our future.”
Former TMX engineer, Romilly Cavanaugh, says this means trouble for Trans Mountain, “horizontal directional drilling is a very costly process requiring numerous pieces of heavy equipment and a large number of personnel. TMX’s failure this week to install a new pipe beneath the Thompson River will result in significant additional costs, and likely a delay in the project completion date. Redoing the crossing will easily double or even triple the costs at this work site, and a second attempt may go the same way as the first.”
The costly TMX construction delay was announced on that same day that oil prices plummeted and a new report was released finding that the “expansion may not be economically viable.” The report states that a mix of competing pipelines, changes in energy demand and shifts in international prices could wreak havoc on the project’s business case.
The Report states “Trans Mountain expansion project (TMX), and its subsequent efforts to begin construction, have been fraught with delays, opposition and court challenges.” The Canadian government owned pipeline has already announced an increase projected cost of construction of 70% to $12.6 Billion from the originally quoted $7.4 Billion. But some environmental watchdogs say that the price Canadian taxpayers will fork out to a dying fossil fuel industry could be much higher when costs of oil spill clean up and legal battles are included.
To assist in the ongoing resistance against the pipeline, the Secwepemc Land Defenders have launched a new GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rise-now where they are collecting donations to fund the creation of a documentary film, support ongoing observation of the drill sites and ensure public accountability, and offset the costs of speaking at events to raise public awareness. The Secwepemc people are also calling on supporters to host solidarity actions wherever they are. For request for a speaker or for further inquiry email SecwepemcFire@gmail.com
To support Secwepemc Land Defense, please donate now and sign up for more updates at sqeq-petsin.ca
For further inquiry contact:
Miranda Dick, Secwepemc Spokesperson
Secwepemc Woman’s Sacred Fire Council