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BC Indigenous Leaders Devastated After Massive Oil Spill Next To Their Burial Grounds

"We cannot continue to have our land desecrated by oil spills."

Indigenous leaders are speaking out against the pipeline once again. On Saturday, June 13, Trans Mountain announced over 50,000 gallons of crude oil had been leaked in Abbotsford, B.C. The Union Of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) have condemned the spill and are demanding answers. 

Trans Mountain's first statement was posted on the day of the spill itself, where they stated that oil had been released at their Sumas Pump Station. "The pipeline was immediately shut down and crews were dispatched to investigate," the statement read. 

The corporation mentioned in the statement that "it has been fully contained." 

In another statement released on the following day, June 14, said, "150-190 cubic metres (940-1195 barrels) of light crude was released and was fully contained on Trans Mountain property," they said. 

If you calculate, 1195 barrels of oil is equal to 50,190 gallons, according to Ask Numbers

Meanwhile, UBCIC took to address the spill on June 14 as well, where they provided more information about the location of the spill and what the believe the impacts to be. 

"Our main concern is for the clean-up of this spill and preventing further impacts to our territory. We need to have our monitors on the ground immediately," said the news release. 

Trans Mountain

Trans Mountain

They went on to say that the "spill occurred just south of the Lightning Rock site - a cultural site and burial grounds of great significance to the Sema:th First Nation and Stό:lō Coast Salish Peoples." 

"We need to understand what is going on from our point of view, how much oil spilled, what has been impacted, and what needs to be done to clean it up. We cannot continue to have our land desecrated by oil spills," said Chief Silver in the press release. 

Trans Mountain

He went on to condemn the Trans Mountain pipeline, which he said would go through a sacred site, Lightning Rock. Chief Silver said that he and his people will do everything they can to "prevent this from happening." 

In Trans Mountain's latest statement on June 14, they said that the pipeline was up and running by the afternoon. "Monitoring has not identified any risk to the public or community," the statement said. 

It went on to add that Indigenous leaders have visited the site and "clean-up and remediation will continue in coordination with regulators, Indigenous groups and the local community." 

The statement also provided photos of the pump station both before and after the clean-up process had begun.