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Why Did Trans Mountain Dig Through an Indigenous Burial Site? – The Tyee

The company’s plan was to ‘micro-tunnel’ across Secwépemc territory — but that fell through. An explainer.

Trans Mountain says it is in the process of wrapping up work to install its pipeline through a sacred Secwépemc site, bringing its expansion project one step closer to completion.

The pipe installation, which involved digging a 1.3-kilometre trench through an area with a known burial site, was allowed to proceed after years of back and forth between the company, the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation and federal regulators.

The Canadian government bought the pipeline nearly six years ago and vowed to move ahead with its expansion, saying it was in the public interest. It is managed through a Crown corporation.

“It’s devastating to many people that this happened,” said Mike McKenzie, a Secwépemc knowledge keeper. “Canada had a serious obligation to the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc and all Canadians to uphold Secwépemc law in a good way, to embody reconciliation in their work.”

The pipeline expansion project, which is years behind schedule and nearly $30 billion over budget, was to be delivering heavy oil to the coast by the end of March. That’s now unlikely — and the delays are costing Canadians about $200 million a month in lost revenue, the Crown corporation says.

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