CHIMACUM — Two events on the Olympic Peninsula raised more than $5,000 to help First Nations in the United States and Canada fight legal battles against the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan to stretch from the Canadian province of Alberta to British Columbia, bordering the Salish Sea.
The largest of the two events was Tuesday night at Finnriver Cidery in Chimacum. More than 100 people came to listen to performances by local artists and speeches by area activists. The fundraiser raised $3,430 for the Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs (RAVEN) Trust.
The RAVEN Trust is a nonprofit that helps First Nations from the U.S. and Canada fund legal challenges filed against the more than 700-mile pipeline.
Speakers at Tuesday’s event included members of the Olympic Peninsula Sierra Club and Eric de Place, the director of the Sightline Institute, a nonprofit research and communications company that promotes a sustainable Pacific Northwest.
The event also featured music from the PT Songlines Choir, a performance from the North Olympic Orca Pod and traditional songs from Hawk Grinnell of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.
On Wednesday, about 50 people gathered at the Elwha Klallam Heritage Center in Port Angeles for Indian tacos cooked by Sonny Francis of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and to listen to performances by local artists and speeches by area activists such as Ed Chadd, founder of the citizens group Olympic Climate Action, as well as de Place.
That event raised $2,344 for the RAVEN Trust, making the grand total $5,774 raised, according to Victoria Leistman, an event organizer and member of the Sierra Club. The donations were managed by the Sierra Club North Olympic Group.
“This fundraiser was launched to support the First Nations’ legal struggle against the proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline and educate attendees about the perils this pipeline poses for the Salish Sea,” said Barbara Blair, one of the organizers, in a news release.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudaeu approved an expansion of the already existing Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline in November, which drew sharp criticism from tribes and environmental activists in both the U.S. and Canada.
The pipeline expansion would increase the power of the pipeline, taking it from pumping 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day, according to the Kinder Morgan website. The increased oil production could lead to more oil tanker traffic in the Salish Sea since much of the oil pumped through the existing pipeline is shipped to Washington refineries in Anacortes, Cherry Point and Ferndale.
Jefferson County Editor/