Police arrest pipeline opponents on Burnaby Mountain

It was a tense Thursday morning on Burnaby Mountain, as RCMP arrested at least a dozen anti-pipeline protesters.

Police cordoned off sections of Centennial Way, where protesters set up a barricaded camp, and anyone caught inside the yellow tape was subject to arrest.

The people were arrested for defying a B.C. Supreme Court injunction banning the protesters from interfering with Kinder Morgan’s survey work for a new pipeline route. Some have been released already.

“It’s a very emotional event, and I respect the people who have decided to commit civil disobedience,” said Alan Dutton from Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion. Dutton was also one of the five protesters named in the court injunction. “We’ve advised people to respect the law and allow the court process to continue to see what the resolution will be.”

Dutton said it will be difficult for police to clear the area as more people convene on the mountain.

“There are a lot of people coming into this area, and the longer it takes, the more people are going to be here and the more peaceful it will become because there are more people to witness what’s going on,” Dutton said. “I anticipate this is going to continue, and this is going to be a long, long struggle.”

Burnaby resident Ruth Walmsley slept in the park overnight and was on the scene when a large number of police officers showed up and read the injunction to those in the camp area.

“A number of protesters locked arms and refused to get off of the premises,” she told the NOW.

Police were also dealing with protesters at a clearing in the woods at another spot where Kinder Morgan needs to drill for soil samples. Vancouver resident Adam Bognar was one of three people who camped overnight in the clearing, which is about a five-minute hike from Centennial Way

“There have been no arrests made yet (in the woods),” he told the NOW.

Police arrived as Bognar and two others were waking up, still in their sleeping bags.

“They came in, in a line, and set up a perimeter and made us move outside of it to not be arrested,” Bognar said. “They said this is in the injunction perimeter, … since then it’s grown three times that size, and it’s just been on whim.”

At press time, Bognar was outside the cordoned-off area, documenting the scene. He also reported that one man chained his neck to a tree, about 25 feet from the ground, and two police officers were up the tree with bolt cutters trying to remove him. The RCMP’s aerial extraction team removed him and arrested him.

One of the more intense and emotional moments was when Clarrisa Antone from the Squamish Indian Band arrived on the scene singing and drumming. As the crowd began to sing along with her, she marched right under the yellow police tape into the protesters’ camp as RCMP looked on. By press time Thursday, only Antone and another indigenous woman were allowed to stay inside the camp, where a “sacred” fire is burning.

There’s been a call out for more protesters to convene on the mountain, and many more arrived Thursday morning, as word spread of the arrests. People from the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations were reportedly on their way at press time, although this is not confirmed.

Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt.-Major John Buis said there were 14 arrests, but the number is fluid, because some protesters are being released if they agree to appear in court and not return to the protest site. Seven have been released.

“We will secure the site,” he told the NOW.

As for the remaining women inside the camp, Buis said RCMP were working on that.

Kinder Morgan released a media statement Thursday, saying crews were back on the mountain, clearing the work sites.

“As of 12:45 p.m., Trans Mountain staff and contractors have arrived at Burnaby Mountain to begin preparing the work sites for our geotechnical field studies. Trans Mountain is pleased that the majority of the individuals occupying the area complied with the order and continue to exercise their rights to express their views in a respectful manner, while allowing our team to begin the work safely. Our crews will be respectfully relocating any items that are in the designated work area. It will be secured and handed over to RCMP.”

© Burnaby Now

Lawyer condemns arrests of Burnaby Mountain protesters while appeals are before courts

A VANCOUVER CIVIL-RIGHTS lawyer says it’s “dangerously wrong” that protesters on Burnaby Mountain are being arrested while the courts are still evaluating the legality of a U.S.-owned energy company’s actions.

“There is the uncontroversial right of the citizens to protest, which is one of the key planks of a democracy,” Gail Davidson told the Georgia Straight by phone. “And the right of Kinder Morgan hasn’t been determined.”

Davidson said that she thinks that the Kinder Morgan subsidiary Trans Mountain Pipeline, is, in effect, “defying the court process” by conducting geotechnical survey work on Burnaby Mountain while the issue is before the B.C. Court of Appeal.

In addition, the City of Burnaby has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to set aside a National Energy Board order to allow Kinder Morgan’s work to proceed.

“They shouldn’t be going ahead with their basically irremedial activities,” Davidson said. “You can’t put the tree up after they’ve cut it down.”

As a result, she said that the uncertainty over Kinder Morgan’s legal right while these cases are being appealed does not justify any loss of liberty for the protesters.

Davidson also said that she doesn’t blame the RCMP for what’s happening. “I think the police were trying to be careful, so I’m not really faulting them so much as the pressures that are brought to bear upon them.”

Meanwhile, SFU professor Lynne Quarmby was among eight demonstrators arrested yesterday This came after 26 were taken away on November 20.

They’ve all been charged with civil contempt of court, according to the Mounties.

The RCMP has issued a statement on its website saying that Centennial Way at the Burnaby Mountain Parkway will remain closed.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter @csmithstraight.

Koch Brothers Are The Largest Land Owners Of Canada’s Tar Sands

Author
ARI PHILLIPS
The Koch Brothers are known for many things — their vast financial empire, their conservative political ideology, their active political involvement, their support of the Keystone XL pipeline — but their Alberta, Canada land ownership has not been as widely discussed. A Washington Post feature has brought this subject back to attention as the Keystone XL debate heats up and discussion over the relationship between the Koch Brothers and their Republican allies takes on even greater significance in an important election year.

According to the Washington Post, which uses a report from the activist group the International Forum on Globalization as a foundation, a Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres in the northern Alberta oil sands, an area nearly the size of Delaware. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy.

“What is Koch Industries doing there?,” asks the Washington Post. “The company wouldn’t comment on its holdings or strategy, but it appears to be a long-term investment that could produce tens of thousands of barrels of the region’s thick brand of crude oil in the next three years and perhaps hundreds of thousands of barrels a few years after that.”

In 2012, InsideClimate News reported on the Koch family’s long-term investments in Canada’s heavy oil industry, calling it an essential part of the company’s massive growth since 1959. In a wide-ranging analysis, InsideClimate News found that Koch Industries has been involved with almost every aspect of the tar sands industry, from mining bitumen to transportation, exportation, distribution and, of course, refining the petrochemicals — a large part of their empire.

The report found that Koch Industries is “one of Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers, and exporters, with more than 130 crude oil customers,” and is also responsible for about 25 percent of oil sands crude imports into the U.S., for use at its refineries.

In their recent report The Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb about the Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL pipeline, the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) contends that Koch Exploration Canada, the Koch Industries subsidiary that buys and sells land for energy development, could profit by up to $100 billion with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While this number is up for debate, it is clearly not a losing investment. And at the very least the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would lower transportation costs of getting the oil to refineries, increasing the production margins of those refineries, whether Koch-owned or not.

“The biggest way Koch could benefit from Keystone is by the pipeline’s acting as the ‘keystone’ of oil industry strategy to increase the ‘takeaway’ capacity for producers of Canadian crude, whereby getting more oil to more lucrative markets, and ending the deep discounts on Canadian crude currently glutting markets,” IFG’s Victor Menotti told the Washington Post.

In Alberta, like in many places in the U.S., owning the land and owning the mineral rights beneath the surface are different things. According to the Alberta Department of Energy, 81 percent of the surface mineral rights in the province are owned by the provincial Crown, with the remaining 19 percent owned by National Parks, First Nations, or individuals or corporations that acquired the land in the 1800s before the modern rights went into effect.
Koch Industries has held the line that they have no financial stake in the Keystone XL Pipeline and “are not party to its design or construction,” or “a proposed shipper or customer of oil delivered by this pipeline.”

Most people in the path of oil and gas development find themselves helpless in the face of the industry’s deep pockets and political affiliations. Landowners and farmers are left to deal with the environmental and health impacts of nearby fracking and drilling, often polluting or drying up their water sources. It would seem that the Koch brothers would be happy to sell their land away for a little profit — and with little risk of physical or psychological harm. They doubtlessly have land to spare. And until the true impacts come to their own backyard — as they recently did for ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson outside of Dallas — that isn’t likely to change.

UPDATE
The Washington Post revisited this story on April 8 to state that further reporting revealed that Koch Industries on a net acreage basis is the largest American and foreign holder of leases in Canada’s oil sands but it might narrowly trail two Canadian companies overall.

Flurry of B.C. court battles threaten to drive away investment

A flurry of court cases has tied up more than $25-billion worth of resource projects this year as First Nations, environmental groups and others battle pipelines, mines, a dam and a coal port – a situation that some observers fear will drive away investment.

“Well, it’s not new, but arguably it’s intensified,” Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer for the Business Council of B.C., said of the legal roadblocks.

MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY

11 B.C. resource projects and the court actions they’ve inspired, in detail
Opposition to B.C. resource projects comes with economic repercussions
Mr. Finlayson said the province has a long history of court battles over resource developments, but he worries British Columbia’s reputation could suffer if the wave of litigation continues.

“Even though it’s not a new phenomenon . . . it is getting more complex and costly over time – so it does hurt us,” he said.

First Nations that say they were not adequately consulted on developments, and non-governmental organizations challenging federal or provincial environmental permits, make up the bulk of the 38 cases, a review of court records by The Globe and Mail has shown. But municipal governments are also bringing cases, and resource companies are using the courts too, to get injunctions against protesters.

Mr. Finlayson said he is not critical of groups that take action to protect their legal rights, but too many projects could be entangled in court for too long.

“People outside the province, whether they are investors, institutional money managers or actual corporations . . . might look at B.C. and say it’s too difficult to do business there,” he said. “We’re not there yet, because as I look at the amount of investment under way, clearly we’re continuing to attract our share, but I do think there’s some risk around it.”

Ravina Bains, associate director of aboriginal policy at the Fraser Institute, said a recent survey of mining companies shows executives in that industry are already wary of B.C.

“The No. 1 reason why investors are reluctant to invest in B.C. is because of the First Nations land-uncertainty question,” she said. “It’s clearly having an impact because this is an issue that’s top of mind for potential mining developers.”

Ms. Bains said a Supreme Court of Canada decision this summer that confirmed the Tsilhqot’in First Nation have title over a sprawling territory in central B.C. has spurred more court action from others.

“I think that judgment was a real game-changer. It was historic . . . it provided an example for different First Nation communities to use the court system versus actually negotiating with different levels of government,” she said.

Gwen Barlee, policy director of the environmental group, the Wilderness Committee, said one of the reasons for all the legal action is that the government is not doing enough to protect the environment.

“I think people are losing faith in the system and they don’t think there’s appropriate checks and balances with provincial environmental laws or federal environmental laws,” she said. “So when those [resource project] decisions come down, people are saying, ‘We don’t think that those were measured and appropriate decisions and we’re going to go to court because of that.’”

Chris Tollefson, executive director of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, said one way to restore public confidence and cut down on the litigation would be for the province to get out of the agreement that authorizes the National Energy Board, a federal agency, to approve projects such as the Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain pipeline proposals. Prior to 2010, B.C. held its own environmental hearings, but in seeking to streamline the process, the province handed off authority for environmental reviews to Ottawa on some big energy projects. This limited the province’s option to block projects it objected to.

Mr. Tollefson, who is representing the conservation group BC Nature in two Federal Court of Appeal cases related to the Northern Gateway proposal, said NGOs and First Nations think hard before deciding to go to court because it is so expensive.

“It depends on the number of days it is in court and how much work is involved in bringing the matter forward, but . . . I would say in the average case you are looking at a liability of between $25,000 and $100,000 easily,” he said. If the groups win, they can recover costs – but if they lose they can get stuck not only with their own legal bills, but a significant portion of the costs incurred by companies or governments to defend the suits.

“It’s a very serious commitment,” Mr. Tollefson said of the decision to go to court.

Follow Mark Hume on Twitter: @markhumeglobe

Arrests of pipeline protesters in Burnaby signal start of long battle

Kinder Morgan began preparing for oil pipeline survey work this morning on Burnaby Mountain after police arrested and removed 26 protesters on Thursday who had refused to take down camps in the path of work crews.

But activists vowed to continue to disrupt project work and blocked an access road Friday morning until Burnaby RCMP once again moved in.

“We’re turning away work trucks,” said Kaleb Morrison, one protester who has been on site for four months. “It’s outside the injunction area and the police tape.”

Morrison had been arrested Thursday and held overnight but was back at Burnaby Mountain this morning after a bail hearing in B.C. Supreme Court.

A court injunction granted last week has barred protesters from the work zone since 4 p.m. Monday.

At least eight more protesters were arrested Friday, including SFU science professor Lynne Quarmby and climate change activist Kevin Washbrook.

“There are no other options left,” Washbrook said after being charged with civil contempt of court for pushing through a line of police officers.

“This is what politics in B.C. could become among people who care about our future,” he said. “We may be in for a Clayoquot-type situation where people who feel they have to make a stand show up each day and make an effort to cross the line.”

The company intends to drill two 250-metre test holes into the mountain over the next 10 to 12 days to determine whether a tunneling route for the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline could avoid existing Burnaby neighbourhoods.

“Trans Mountain supports the right to peacefully protest and believes individuals can express their views in the lawful assembly area, which is near one of the work sites, while allowing our workers to continue working safely,” the company said in a statement.

It said protesters’ belongings were respectfully removed and relocated overnight.

The geotechnical work is expected to run 24 hours a day.

Burnaby has been the flashpoint for opposition to the pipeline project because Kinder Morgan is under growing time pressure to finalize its route in north Burnaby to its tanker terminal ahead of National Energy Board hearings on the project in the new year.

Besides the on-the-ground protests, the City of Burnaby and its council are engaged in court battles aimed at thwarting the project by refusing access.

“I don’t think this is going to be over quickly,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said. “We’re going to see ongoing legal battles that will probably take place over the next several years.”

Pipeline opponents argue the huge jump in oil tanker traffic out of Burrard Inlet that will result will greatly increase the risk of a catastrophic oil spill in B.C. waters.

Corrigan said he understands protesters’ frustration, but said they should leave the city and other municipalities to fight the legal battle rather than risk arrest.

Burnaby is in federal court challenging Trans Mountain’s authority granted by the NEB to override city bylaws and it also wants the B.C. Court of Appeal to grant Burnaby an injunction barring the Kinder Morgan crews from Burnaby parkland after a lower court judge refused.

Corrigan said the federally granted authority to supersede local cities could result in all sorts of federally regulated bodies – not just pipeline companies but also port terminals, airports, railways and telecommunications firms – gaining the ability to trump local land-use decisions.

“We are extremely concerned,” he said. “The issues are so much bigger than this incursion in a park on Burnaby Mountain.”

Langley Township, Abbotsford, Vancouver and Metro Vancouver are among the local governments that have filed as intervenors.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May urged protesters to continue non-violent resistance, calling Kinder Morgan’s work illegal.

“This entire NEB process has been tainted by fraud through the misrepresentation of Kinder Morgan’s evidence and shoddy research,” May said.

May said civil disobedience is a Charter protected right and praised the “courageous actions” of those arrested Thursday.

“The people protesting on Burnaby Mountain are local, law-abiding residents who have been pushed to their limit,” added Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart, who criticized Kinder Morgan for pushing ahead with the work.

Sober second thought needed in Kinder Morgan situation

As we write this editorial, RCMP officers are arresting protesters on Burnaby Mountain. The protesters have been involved in a standoff with Kinder Morgan and the company’s workers for the past several weeks.

Kinder Morgan wants to take soil samples and do some engineering tests to see if their planned twinning of its oil pipeline could be built through the mountain. The protesters are trying to stop – or at least stall – the company.

The city is still fighting the company in Canada’s courts. The land Kinder Morgan wants to build on has been designated a conservation and park area. It is not a vacant industrial lot. It is Burnaby city land, and one might think that Burnaby would have some say in the matter. But that’s not what the law allows, according to the National Energy Board. The law apparently allows for oil companies to pretty much do anything they want.

Well, as Charles Dickens wrote in Oliver Twist, “The law is an arse.”

Burnaby residents, and Canadians in general, are a polite group. Civil disobedience is not the first thing they plan when faced with government actions they don’t agree with. First they try the law, then they try online petitions, then they get their pup tents and hold sing-along protests with big signs. It is certainly only as a last resort that folks chain themselves to trees and get thrown behind bars.

So the government and the NEB should take a much-needed sober second look at this situation.

This is not a protest that is happening in the 1960s deep in the woods. This is a protest that is driven by legitimate concerns about oil tanker traffic in a narrow inlet. It is a protest with legitimate concerns about what would happen when (not if) an earthquake hits. It is a protest framed by legitimate concerns about land rights. It is a protest supported by many “average” citizens who were very reluctant to step out of their comfort zones and risk jail. It is a protest that is founded on principles that cannot be ignored. The law may indeed be an arse, but we still believe in basic principles of justice.

© Burnaby Now – See more at: http://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/editorial/sober-second-thought-needed-in-kinder-morgan-situation-1.1601560#sthash.eMDQxXeS.dpuf

RCMP Acted Prematurely

From: Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada
Subject: Arrests

Re: Arrest of people protesting Trans Mountain Pipeline conducting the surveys identified by the National Energy Board (NEB).

The arrests of protesters on Burnaby Mountain by the Burnaby RCMP are dangerously wrong and potentially put us all in jeopardy. Deprivation of liberty is the most severe punishment available in our legal system. Police arrest powers must not be used to determine civil disputes or to prevent protests except where necessary to prevent grave harm to the uncontroversial rights of others. In this case the police rely on an injunction made in a lawsuit criticized as a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) suit and an NEB order under appeal and made by a process criticized as a sham intended to produce a predetermined result without considering the public interest.

The dispute in this case is between the public and a foreign corporation. Members of the public who are residents of Burnaby and British Colombia (the protesters) are acting in furtherance of their democratic rights, to protect the public interest. Trans Mountain (the corporation) is acting to maintain or increase profits for shareholders. The issue of whether Trans Mountain has the legal authority to conduct destructive activities on Burnaby Mountain in violation of municipal law has yet to be determined. That issue is currently before both the BC Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Appeal. The City of Burnaby is appealing to the Federal Court of Appeal to set aside the NEB’s order allowing Trans Mountain to carry out the destructive activities and is appealing to the BC Court of Appeal to overturn the BC Supreme Court dismissal of Burnaby’s application for an injunction to prevent those activities. In the meantime Trans Mountain filed a multi-million dollar damage action against the protestors and obtained the injunction upon which the police rely as authority for the arrests.

The right of Trans Mountain to conduct the destructive activities remains controversial and therefore cannot legitimize even a temporary loss of liberty for protesters. The rights of the members of the public to engage in peaceful protests are established and protected by Canadian and international law. The duty of the police is to uphold the law, in this case the rights of the protesters and leave it up to the BC Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and possibly the Supreme Court of Canada to determine the rights of Trans Mountain.

Gail Davidson, 604 738 0338; 778 772 2232
Gail Davidson
Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada – LRWC
3220 West 13th Avenue
Vancouver, BC CANADA, V6K 2V5
Tel: +1-604 736-1175
Fax: +1-604 736-1170
Skype: gail.davidson.lrwc
Email: lrwc@portal.ca
Website: www.lrwc.org

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally by protecting advocacy rights. LRWC campaigns for advocates in danger because of their human rights advocacy, engages in research and education and works in cooperation with other human rights organizations. LRWC has Special Consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Statement from Kennedy Stewart on Burnaby Mountain Protest

Statement from Kennedy Stewart on Burnaby Mountain Protest

Early this morning I went to Burnaby Mountain and spoke with protesters opposed to Kinder Morgan’s drilling activities in the Conservation area related to building a massive new crude oil pipeline through our community.

I spoke with local business owners, home owners, students and the RCMP. I also had the great honour of meeting Clarissa Antone a member of the Squamish First Nation and keeper of the sacred fire. A number of those to whom I spoke were arrested in yesterday’s protests.

I have visited the protest site many times over the past few months to understand the situation and offer support to protestors. The purpose of my visit today was again to support my constituents and to inform them of my Thursday November 20th statement in the House of Commons and Open Letter to Kinder Morgan President Ian Anderson challenging him to immediately cease his activities on Burnaby Mountain so as not to pit local police against local residents.

Today, I again ask Kinder Morgan President Ian Anderson to cease his activities, at least until a judge has decided whether or not to uphold the request by Mayor Derek Corrigan and the City of Burnaby that Kinder Morgan be ordered to stop their activities.

I will continue to visit protestors on Burnaby Mountain and continue to speak in the House of Commons on behalf of my constituents on this issue.

Kennedy Stewart,
Member of Parliament Burnaby-Douglas

Media Release
For immediate release
November 20, 2015

Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart Calls on Kinder Morgan to Stop Work on Burnaby Mountain

(Burnaby) In a letter sent today, Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart, called on Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson to cease activities on Burnaby Mountain.

“In my view, despite the decision of the BC Supreme Court, Mr. Anderson is showing poor judgement and a disregard for Burnaby residents,” Stewart commented. “As people begin to be arrested on Burnaby Mountain, the company has not indicated they will rethink their plan to conduct intrusive tests in our public park.”

“Mr. Anderson must understand the level of anxiety and conflict his company’s activities have provoked in Burnaby,” commented Stewart. “The people protesting on Burnaby Mountain are local, law abiding residents who have been pushed to their limit. They feel they have not been heard by the company or the National Energy Board.”

-30-

The letter to Mr. Anderson and Kennedy’s statement in the House of Commons here:
http://kennedystewart.ndp.ca/burnaby-mp-kennedy-stewart-calls-on-kinder-morgan-to-stop-work-on-burnaby-mountain

More Arrests November 21 2014

For Immediate Release

Burnaby Mountain – At least six more people have been arrested in the protest against pipeline company Kinder Morgan on Burnaby Mountain including Simon Fraser University Professor Lynn Quarmby, Burnaby resident Ruth Walmsley of BROKE, and Vancouver activist Kevin Washbrook..
Today’s arrests started when Prof. Quarmby announced that, despite being a law abiding citizen who is engaged in civil society in many ways, she felt she had no choice but to get arrested to prove her point that the Kinder Morgan pipeline review process is seriously flawed.

“Canadians deserve a government that will address climate change..” said Professor Quarmby. “The fact that people are not allowed to talk about climate change in the pipeline hearings is evidence that the process is broken and corrupt” continued Quarmby. She also expressed concern about the lack of consultation with First Nations.
Professor Quarmby linked arms with supporters as she walked up Burnaby Mountain to the sound of First Nations drummers. When she got to the police line she was joined by at least 5 others as they crossed the line and were arrested.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the mountain, concerned citizens stood in the way of 2 Kinder Morgan trucks that were going up the mountain to carryout the survey work. At least 2 trucks turned back and there are indications that the blockade will continue.