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Residents block Kinder Morgan from Burnaby conservation area!

Survey workers for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline evicted from Burnaby conservation area yesterday. Photo by Rising Tide – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.

The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with those who evicted a survey team for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline from a Burnaby conservation area yesterday.

Texas-based Kinder Morgan is proposing to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline from northern Alberta to the British Columbia coast to increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The pipeline would carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands through Jasper National Park, into the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, across the Vedder Fan aquifer and the municipality of Chilliwack’s protected groundwater zone, then across the Fraser River and to the Westridge Marine Terminal at Burrard Inlet. Once there, the bitumen would be loaded onto export tankers. 

The Canadian Press reports, “Angry protesters stopped crews from conducting pipeline survey work on Burnaby Mountain Wednesday, forcing the company to reassess how it will finish work needed for a National Energy Board decision. …Stephen Collis, a spokesman for the protesters who call themselves the Caretakers, said they plan to hunker down.”

Collis says, “We’re currently occupying the space that they have identified that they need to work in. Since we’re on public land, we have every right to be here. They can’t really work in a space that’s filled with dozens of people. That’s the intention.”

The news report adds, “Greg Toth, senior director for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project, said all survey work on the mountain was stopped, although other crews were still working around Burnaby. He wasn’t yet sure if the company would ask for an injunction preventing protests.”

Burnaby Now reports, “Kinder Morgan has an order from the National Energy Board that prevents the City of Burnaby from stopping the company’s work crews, even though the land is a city-owned conservation area, and the City of Burnaby is dead set against the pipeline expansion. Burnaby plans to appeal the NEB order at the Federal Court of Appeal level. Kinder Morgan sought the NEB order after city staff ticketed the company’s work crews for cutting down trees in a public park.”

It adds, “The protesters are a mix of SFU professors, random Vancouver and Burnaby residents, members of Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion and an ad-hoc group called the Caretakers. They’ve been taking turns keeping an eye on the conservation area for weeks, but since Kinder Morgan issued the required 48-hour notice to the City of Burnaby, Collis said they’ve increased their numbers.”

In a media release, the activists commented, “Concerned citizens acted bravely, resolutely, and peacefully. They did so in opposition to both the anti-democratic actions of this transnational corporation, and the questionable authority of the National Energy Board of Canada, which is making the unprecedented move of exerting unelected authority over municipal, and thus provincial, authority.”

The Council of Canadians is currently building a ‘wall of opposition’ – similar to the movements against the Trans Mountain, Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines – to TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline through various actions including a speaking tour in Atlantic Canada.

Burnaby Mountain

Post-script: And this morning, Council of Canadians organizers Leila Darwish and Brigette DePape, along with Council of Canadians chapter activists and supporters, visited Burnaby Mountain to express solidarity with the First Nations, environmentalists and community members united in the blockade against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Further reading
Council marches against Trans Mountain Pipeline (August 2011 blog)
Pacific region chapters to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline (April 2014 blog)
Council chapter activist Eric Doherty joins legal case against NEB over Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion (May 2014 blog by Leila Darwish)
Mid Island chapter at open-house protest against Trans Mountain pipeline (December 2012 blog)
Council of Canadians supports Salish Sea Summer Gathering today (August 2014 blog)