U.S. and Canadian Indigenous groups call for moratorium on marine traffic

VANCOUVER — Indigenous groups in Canada and the United States are calling for a halt to new marine vessel traffic in the waters off British Columbia’s coast as port and pipeline activities increase in the area.

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in B.C., and the Tulalip Tribes and Lummi Nation in Washington state say they want to cap traffic in the Salish Sea while an impact study of the waters on both sides of the border is complete.

They say fisheries, resident orcas, sacred sites and traditional economies are all threatened by new and expanding port facilities and they want the study to consider the cumulative change over time, not just the impacts of a single project.

The speakers made the call during a break at an information session held by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s review panel on the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project.

The project would see the construction of a new three-berth marine container terminal about 35 kilometres south of Vancouver off Delta, B.C.

The Indigenous groups also expressed concern about the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would increase tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet sevenfold.

The Federal Court of Appeal quashed the expansion project’s approval in August in part due to the board’s failure to consider marine shipping impacts.

The Canadian Press

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