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Pedalling the pipeline

How do residents along the TransMountain pipeline route feel about Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of their pipeline?

That’s what a group of concerned citizens from Washington are looking to find out, by riding their bicycles more than 1,700 kilometres from the tip to the tail of the pipeline.

“The pipeline is in bicycle distance from Seattle, which is pretty stunning, because from where we sit in the Pacific Northwest it seems like a pretty abstract thing,” said Erika Lundahl, one of the riders.

The team has been making quick time so far, having just left from the Shell oil refinery in Anacortes, Wash. on Aug. 15. They pulled into Merritt last night, and will be in Kamloops this afternoon. They are planning on getting to Fort McMurray on Aug. 30.

The idea began with Phillip Jones approximately one year ago. He decided to take his bicycle “pilgrimage” along the pipeline route and others soon decided to join him.

In addition to the four riders travelling to Fort McMurray, a small documentary film crew is following along in a biodiesel-fueled truck.

They are filming interviews with people along the pipeline route, to find out common sentiments about the project.

“We’re trying to find the commonalities but also find where we can start conversations and invite people in, as oppose to trying to point fingers or anything like that,” Lundahl said. “That’s why we’re trying to capture as many stories as we can.”

So far the crew has received positive responses from people they have talked to.

“Everyone so far has been really excited about it, whatever their perspective is,” said Lundahl. “I think it’s because we’re coming at it from a witnessing perspective of just trying to hear the stories.”

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