Kinder Morgan ‘picnic’ protest launched

It was a moment of shock, anger and disbelief.

Alan Dutton was looking out over the Burrard Inlet, from his perch at the top of one of Burnaby Mountain’s cliffs, considering the prospect Kinder Morgan could be putting a pipeline under his feet.

“We were shocked to learn that Kinder Morgan had actually gone into the conservation area and done clear-cutting,” said Dutton, of Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion.

To highlight the clear-cutting, BROKE started a “picnic” protest on Monday in which the mountain is covered with numerous “red and white checkered table clothes” to show where the survey work will go down.

“We’re hoping to build it so that thousands of people will become more aware of what’s going on and be able to mobilize on the mountain,” Dutton said. “People are up on the mountain today (Monday) and people will be on the mountain for the next little while, until we stop Kinder Morgan.”

The group was already opposed to the energy company’s project, but the sight of the cleared trees created a heightened sense of urgency. Just last week, the National Energy Board declared Kinder Morgan could proceed with its survey work regardless of Burnaby’s bylaws that contradict the legality of that same work.

In response to the protest initiative, Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Lizette Parsons Bell said, “We respect the rights of peaceful protest but we must also ensure the safety of staff, the environment and the surrounding community.”

BROKE, which Dutton is a researcher for, has been accepted as an intervener for the National Energy Board hearing of the Trans Mountain expansion project.

Dutton has also contracted seismology and health scientists to create independent reports.

This move, Dutton argued, would bring independent research onto a topic that has mostly seen information presented by Kinder Morgan’s consultants.

He argues Kinder Morgan’s current pipeline — which the company is trying to twin — runs parallel to suspected fault lines and Burnaby Mountain is a seismically active area.

In response to the protest initiative, Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Lizette Parsons Bell said, “We respect the rights of peaceful protest but we must also ensure the safety of staff, the environment and the surrounding community.”

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