Staff photo/Hayley Day About 150 islanders rallied at the San Juan County Park against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. “Stopping the expansion is the most important thing we can do to protect the environment,” said Eben Shay, in the green jacket to the right.

San Juan Islanders protest Kinder Morgan on MLK Day

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, rallies against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline took place on Lopez, Orcas, Shaw and San Juan Islands. Liza Michaelson and Mara Lawrence organized the event for San Juan Island through Friends of the San Juans.

“If we don’t stand up for the safety of our waters, who’s going to?” asked Michaelson, who is also involved in 285-member organization San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping.

About 150 people attended the San Juan Island rally at San Juan County park. An estimated 400 people attended in total on Lopez, Orcas, Shaw Islands in the San Juans, and Guemes and Fidalgo Islands near the mainland, and even Gabriola Island in British Columbia. Friends of the San Juans had representatives on all of them, said Executive Director Stephanie Buffum.

The Canadian government approved the expansion’s permits, right after Christmas, said Buffman, but the fight is not over.

“As long as there is a legal battle to be had, that’s hopeful,” said Buffman. “It’s another day the project is delayed; another day we don’t have diluted bitumen floating in our waters.”

Friends of the San Juans members previously told The Journal, the expansion will increase the number of ships carrying crude oil past the San Juan Islands, as well as the possibility of spilling a heavy, sinkable oil that is almost impossible to clean up.

Some have compared this protest to those against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which runs through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

A more detailed article about the event printed in the Jan. 25 edition of The Journal.