PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A group of environmental activists is taking to the water to oppose the expansion of a Canadian pipeline.
Members in kayaks launched from Kelley Point Park in Portland Monday to rally against the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which is owned by the Canadian federal government.
The activists are part of the grassroots network Mosquito Fleet. According to organizers, a planned expansion of the pipeline would have major impacts on the Canadian and the Pacific Northwest’s environment.
They were headed down the Columbia River Monday to a barge carrying pipes for the project.
“Tar sands is the dirtiest form of oil,” Katie Behrendt with Portland Rising Tide, said. “It produces more emissions than standard oil. It produces a lot more environmental damage. It threatens groundwater and rivers because of the toxic pools that are collected.”
Behrendt says the Port of Vancouver is bringing in cargo ships carrying pipes destined for the pipeline project in Canada.
She and other so-called “kayaktivists” say the project is a huge threat to Orca whale populations because it would lead to an increase in tanker traffic within Orca habitats. There’s also a risk of oil leaks, which activists worry could threaten species like Salmon, hurting the livelihood of waterfront communities.
The event organizers said they don’t intend to interfere with the shipments; they said their sole goal is to raise awareness.
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