The long-simmering conflict over a planned oil pipeline expansion that would run through Langley gained urgency in 2016.
Kinder Morgan has been planning for several years to expand the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs through North Langley en route to a Burnaby refinery.
Built in the 1950s, the pipeline currently carries 300,000 barrels of oil per day. If built, the expansion will allow 890,000 barrels per day to flow.
If built, Langley will actually see two pipelines – the existing one, and a new, larger one that will take a different route through parts of the Township.
On May 19, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the project, subject to 157 conditions.
Despite the NEB approval, the Liberal government in Ottawa organized a series of TMX Ministerial Panel hearings.
They came to the Lower Mainland in July and August, where environmentalists and Indigenous citizens spoke in opposition. They fear the environmental impacts of both construction and of a potential spill anywhere along the pipe’s route.
Langley Township was also critical in its assessment, saying it would cost the municipality an extra $12.8 million over 50 years to deal with an expected two pipelines, across two routes.
But the strongest organized opposition came from members of the Kwantlen First Nation. The Kwantlen’s most populous reserve is located in Fort Langley, and the pipeline runs through their traditional territory. Members were at the center of a march and other protests in 2015.
On Nov. 29, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government would grant approval to the Trans Mountain expansion, while blocking the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline.
On Dec. 11, opponents of the project marched through Fort Langley vowing to block the project.
“What we are saying is ‘No, you do not have permission to do this,’” Brandon Gabriel said.
He said the younger generation of the Kwantlen will be pushing back against the project.