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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mining Opponents Turn Up the Heat in B.C.

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - Residents of a Vancouver, B.C. suburb have ramped up opposition to a Kinder Morgan subsidiary's plans to expand an oil pipeline in the city.

Residents of Burnaby, pop. 230,000, temporarily stopped the company's work last week by physically obstructing workers from getting to the site.

That prompted Trans Mountain, the Kinder Morgan subsidiary, to go to court. It sued Adam Gold and four other people, personally and representing an unincorporated association called Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, aka BROKE.

Trans Mountain seeks an injunction to restrain protesters from interfering with its work.

The municipal government this year tried but failed to stop the company from conducting survey work on the pipeline's planned route.

Trans Mountain got approval from the National Energy Board, a federal regulator, to carry out field studies, including felling trees and drilling bore holes on Burnaby Mountain, after the court sided against the City of Burnaby's attempt to halt it.

But beginning on Oct. 28, the company claims, protesters "intimidated Trans Mountain and its agents through physical confrontation, and yelling and screaming abusive words."

One protester chained himself to a company vehicle, Trans Mountain says.

Despite signs and verbal warnings that protesters were trespassing and unlawfully interfering with work authorized by the National Energy Board, Trans Mountain says, protesters ignored them.

"The defendants have threatened Trans Mountain employees, its agents and their equipment with physical harm and damage to property," the claim states. "As a result of these actions, there is an apprehension of imminent or harmful conduct from the defendants, and Trans Mountain has had to refrain from conducting the mandated field studies."

The company claims that there "will be substantial harm to third parties and the broader public interest" if it can't finish the studies for the National Energy Board to complete its assessment of the pipeline expansion plan.

It seeks an injunction against the protestors for trespass, nuisance, assault, interference with contractual relations, and conspiracy. A hearing is set for Wednesday, Nov. 5 in B.C. Supreme Court.

Trans Mountain is represented by William C. Kaplan, with Blake Cassels & Graydon.

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