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pracTicaL exampLes oF oiL spiLLs 2007 Westridge Oil Spill 30

Tsleil-Waututh’s concerns about the potential for oil spills resulting from the TMEX proposal and their effects on Burrard Inlet and our title, rights, and interests are not hypothetical in nature. For example, on July 24, 2007, a backhoe operated by a third-party contractor accidentally ruptured the Trans Mountain pipeline that currently runs between the Burnaby petroleum storage facility and Westridge Marine Terminal. Approximately 100 cubic metres (600 barrels) of oil spilled into Burrard Inlet. Tsleil-Waututh observed on a first-hand basis how Trans Mountain and others were ill prepared to respond promptly to an oil spill in Burrard Inlet. Tsleil-Waututh community members accurately predicted where the oil would spread long before results from an oil spill trajectory model were available. We were also the ones to identify and protect at-risk archaeological and intangible cultural heritage resources from the spill. As Dr. Galt’s oil spill model generally predicts (see Section 11), oil fouled the shorelines of the Central Harbour, both near Westridge Marine Terminal and across the water between Maplewood Flats and Tsleil-Waututh Reserve. The fouled shorelines are identified on Map 28 and the degree of oiling based on information in the TMEX facilities application. The oil spill caused a number of adverse effects in Burrard Inlet and corresponding impacts on Tsleil-Waututh title, rights, and interests, including the following: » Contamination of lands in our territory » Contamination of the marine environment in Burrard Inlet, including its waters, sediment, and marine habitat and the marine organisms we harvest » Elevated levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that originated from the spilled oil in sediment and tissue samples taken from Burrard Inlet » Ongoing elevated levels of contaminants in sediment at Westridge Marine Terminal and in shellfish tissue taken from Maplewood Flats and Whey-ahwichen » Termination after the spill of federally unsanctioned Tsleil-Waututh bivalve harvest in front of Tsleil-Waututh Reserve and next to Maplewood Flats because of perceived and actual bivalve contamination » Reversal of our work and progress toward officially opening shellfish beaches so that Tsleil-Waututh members might once again be able to exercise our Aboriginal right to harvest bivalves » Greater difficulty finding places where our members could safely harvest bivalves » Delay in the repair of the marine ecosystem and in the opening (in coordination with the federal government) of additional areas where Tsleil-Waututh members can harvest Cleanup efforts lasted over a year. However, Tsleil-Waututh never accepted or approved the cleanup standards employed. Our nation strongly disagreed that end points for environmental recovery had been reached when, with contamination still evident, environmental monitoring was halted in 2012. The incident and the response to it have had lingering effects and consequences and were clear violations of Tsleil-Waututh law. The spill has contributed to the perception that Burrard Inlet is polluted. Eight years later, many Tsleil-Waututh members are still reluctant to go down to the beach on the reserve for any activity, a situation that perpetuates for our community some of the spill’s unfortunate effects and consequences.

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Affidavit of Leonard Henry George sworn on April 30, 2014 and filed at the Federal Court of Appeal.

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