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Aboriginal Canadians protest tar sands

Dec. 2, 2011 at 7:03 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- First Nation groups in Canada threatened to be the wall that would prevent a tar sands oil pipeline from reaching the country's west coast.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was given a stern warning from aboriginal groups protesting a pipeline planned by Enbridge from oil sands projects in Alberta province.

"I have news for you Mr. Harper, you're never going to achieve your dream of pushing pipelines through our rivers and lands," Chief Jackie Thomas of the Saik'uz First Nation was quoted by The Vancouver Sun as saying.

Her backers threatened to form a human chain in front of Enbridge bulldozers if the company went ahead with the construction of a $5.5 billion pipeline from Alberta to western ports in British Columbia.

"We will be the wall that Enbridge cannot break through," Thomas said.

Opponents of a similar pipeline planned for the United States, Keystone XL, managed to get a federal decision delayed after Nebraskans complained of environmental threats to an aquifer. Crews in Michigan, meanwhile, are still cleaning an Alberta crude oil spill more than a year after an Enbridge pipeline ruptured.

Canadian authorities said all pipelines must pass through stringent environmental review from the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency before moving forward.

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