Pipe­line op­po­nents re­vive icy chal­lenge

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER -

Re­mem­ber the “Ice Bucket Chal­lenge” for Lou Gehrig’s Dis­ease (ALS) aware­ness that went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia in sum­mer 2014, with thousands of par­tic­i­pants dump­ing buck­ets of ice over their heads?

What about the Indige­nousled “Win­ter Chal­lenge” dur­ing that year’s Idle No More groundswell across Canada?

Now in Bri­tish Columbia, op­po­nents of Kin­der Mor­gan’s plans to ex­pand its Trans Moun­tain pipe­line are shiv­er­ing and shud­der­ing to shut down the project — which has been ap­proved by both Ot­tawa and Vic­to­ria and is ex­pected to start con­struc­tion in Septem­ber.

The Texas energy gi­ant’s $7-bil­lion plan would triple the flow of di­luted bi­tu­men oil through a mostly ex­ist­ing pipe­line, in­creas­ing the oil flow from 300,000 bar­rels to 890,000 bar­rels per day from Al­berta’s oil­sands to a ter­mi­nal in Burn­aby.

Kin­der Mor­gan has said the pipe­line and marine traf­fic have a proven safety record over decades and that it will meet the safety con­di­tions upon which federal and pro­vin­cial ap­provals de­pend.

The lat­est in­car­na­tion of the icy chal­lenge started with Kai Na­gata, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the cit­i­zens’ en­vi­ron­men­tal group Dog­wood Ini­tia­tive, on Sun­day jump­ing into the very cold Sey­mour River in North Van­cou­ver.

“This is the Kin­der Mor­gan chal­lenge,” he ex­plained in a video posted to Face­book.

The rules are sim­ple: to im­merse your­self in any Bri­tish Columbia body of wa­ter. And like the chal­lenge’s pre­de­ces­sors, be­fore they dunk par­tic­i­pants nom­i­nate a few friends to com­plete the dare in turn.

Na­gata’s nom­i­na­tions in­cluded Van­cou­ver City Coun. An­drea Reimer, an outspoken pipe­line op­po­nent, West Coast En­vi­ron­men­tal Law staff lawyer Eu­gene Kung, Squamish Na­tion lan­guage ad­vo­cate Khel­silem, and for­mer Dog­wood staffer Mary Leighton, founder of Lan­guage Part­ners B.C.

Leighton and two friends were the first to re­spond to the dare.

“I ac­cept the chal­lenge,” said Leighton in her own Face­book video, as she and her friends took to West Van­cou­ver’s Broth­ers Creek on Mon­day. “We love clean wa­ter!” Mean­while, Coun. Reimer’s one-word re­sponse to Na­gata’s video nei­ther con­firmed nor de­nied whether she would be ac­cept­ing the win­try chal­lenge quite yet. Her re­ply: “Thanks?”

Mean­while some clev­erly at­tempted to find ways to par­tic­i­pate with­out ac­tu­ally get­ting cold, with Univer­sity of B.C. Okana­gan the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist and math­e­ma­ti­cian Ben Tip­pett ask­ing Na­gata: “Do, er, ah … hot springs count?”

Do, er, ah … hot springs count? Ben tip­pett

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