Burnaby residents to block Kinder Morgan’s survey work

Concerned Burnaby residents are ready to block Kinder Morgan from resuming work on Burnaby Mountain, after the National Energy Board ruled Thursday the city can’t stop the survey project for a new pipeline route.

The NEB’s order says Kinder Morgan must give the city of Burnaby 48 hours notice before starting work. It also prohibits the city from blocking Kinder Morgan, even though the land is a city-owned conservation area, and Burnaby is opposed to the pipeline expansion.

Alan Dutton, a member of Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, said local residents and other concerned individuals are already mobilizing on Burnaby Mountain.

“We have been mobilizing and training people for the last three weeks or so, and we are ready. People will be present on the mountain, occupying the conservation area, as they have a right, and they will be having picnics instead of pipelines,” he said.

There’s been a small group monitoring the area for some time, Dutton explained.

“We have been ready to activate our telephone network to advise people if Kinder Morgan starts to do their work,” he said.

Dutton expects Kinder Morgan to give the city notice within 24 hours, which means the company could start work in a matter of days.

Dutton pointed out that the NEB order only applies to the city of Burnaby, and not to regular citizens and their right to peaceful assembly.

“The NEB decision does not speak to the right of people to use that area,” he said.

“We are going to go as far as the law permits,” he added. “We’re going to apply to the city for a permit to have picnics — not pipelines — in the park, and I’m hoping we’ll have many residents supporting us.”

Dutton, speaking personally and not on behalf of BROKE, also raised the possibility of civil disobedience.

“I believe, personally, in certain circumstances, civil disobedience is a moral imperative, and sometimes it is ethically and morally imperative to oppose laws which are against the will of the people,” he said. “We are having workshops on our legal rights to advise people about what the law entails.”

Stephen Collis, a Simon Fraser University English professor opposed to the pipeline, said there are two phone trees of people who are ready to gather on the mountain. One group is mostly BROKE members, while the others he calls “caretakers” or “citizen rangers,” but the overall group is “large.”

“People are willing to be obstacles, even if that means risking arrest,” Collis said.

Kinder Morgan wants to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to Burnaby. The route in Burnaby will go through new territory, and the company wants to drill or tunnel through Burnaby Mountain.

Kinder Morgan started survey work but stopped when the city of Burnaby ticketed the company for cutting trees in a public park. Kinder Morgan then went to the NEB for the order.

Lisa Clement, a media relations staffer with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, wouldn’t say when work would resume.

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