Trans Mountain granted injunction against BC pipeline protesters but activist camp allowed

VANCOUVER — Protesters must be restrained from obstructing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, says a British Columbia Supreme Court judge who has granted the company an injunction aimed at preventing people from entering within five metres of two work sites.Justice Kenneth Affleck said Thursday he felt it necessary to make a decision on the second day of a hearing instead of issuing a written order involving outraged demonstrators who have blocked vehicles and workers at the Burnaby Terminal and the Westridge Marine Terminal.The injunction is indefinite, allowing Trans Mountain to continue work it’s legally entitled to do after the federal government approved the twinning of an existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby in the belief it is in the best interest of Canada, Affleck said.B.C. Trans Mountain protesters bent on stopping project, lawyer seeking injunction saysAlberta threatens to cut off oil exports to B.C. if Trans Mountain obstruction continuesPipeline shortage could choke North America’s oil supply with ‘serious implications for global markets’, IEA warnsTrans Mountain has said that while protests began last November, it sought an injunction after demonstrators began intensifying their blockades recently when trees were being cleared. It said construction at the sites in Burnaby, B.C., is expected to last until December 2020.Affleck agreed with lawyers for two of 15 named defendants in a notice of civil claim that a 50-metre perimeter as part of an interim injunction he granted last week was too broad because it encroached on private property and trails.Trans Mountain’s lawyer, Shaun Parker, requested a structure called Camp Cloud near the Burnaby Terminal be removed, calling it a “hotbed of aggressive activity” for protesters who want to “destroy the project.”But the judge said it will stay.“In my view there has to be a means of allowing the protesters who object to this work to remain reasonably close to the site,” Affleck said. “The plaintiff is going to have to tolerate a certain amount of agitation.”Parker was also unsuccessful in his request for an order requiring the removal of a structure called the Watch House, saying it’s on a pipeline right of way and would cause significant safety risks.“I’m sensitive to the concern of those who created this Watch House, that it is of considerable significance to them,” Affleck said of the structure that was erected near the Burnaby Terminal on Saturday, when people marched against the pipeline.He said Trans Mountain would have to demonstrate any emergency need to remove the Watch House but would then have to replace it.Casey Leggett, a lawyer for one of the defendants, said citizens have a constitutional right to protest the expansion of the pipeline.“The inconvenience, which my friends call a blockade, hasn’t gotten to the level of establishing irreparable harm,” Leggett said.He read from affidavits presented in court by a Trans Mountain lawyer, saying the company’s security staff noted protesters have sometimes stood peacefully at or near access roads to two marine terminals in Burnaby without disrupting vehicles or workers and left after police arrived.He said in one case, a woman was seen praying on a road and didn’t engage with security staff while on another day a woman sat in a lawn chair as vehicles were guided around her at slow speed.Affleck said while the first protesters’ conduct was unobjectionable, the second woman had no right to sit in the middle of a public road and the police would be justified in removing her.The judge also suggested Leggett was cherry-picking incidents that did not involve blockades aimed at stopping work at the terminals.Leggett replied that Trans Mountain had done the same and also focused on blockades rather than inconvenience, which he said does not justify an injunction.Activists have said they will continue opposing the $7.4-billion project despite the injunction. read more

A favourite proKeystone XL talking point takes a burst of friendly fire

by Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 3, 2015 12:17 pm MDT WASHINGTON – Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. likes to joke that he walks around Washington carrying a copy of the State Department environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline tucked in his jacket pocket.That’s how critical that document has been to the pipeline cause. Proponents from ambassador Gary Doer, to members of the Harper cabinet, industry players, and pro-oil lawmakers have repeatedly quoted it as a talking point.Its basic conclusion became their mantra: Canadian oil production is destined to keep growing, so might as well build a pipeline, which is safer and cleaner than shipping by rail.That document, however, is now being punctured by bursts of friendly fire. It’s coming from within the Obama administration, striking parts of its own report.President Barack Obama routinely dismisses one finding that oil from the pipeline would likely be used in the U.S. Obama has taken to deriding the project as an export route through America, not to America.An even more fundamental finding of the report is now being challenged from within the administration. The Environmental Protection Agency has questioned the inevitability of oilsands expansion. It suggests the current projection is out of date, because the price of oil has plunged since the State Department issued its report last year.“It is important to revisit these conclusions,” says an EPA letter sent this week to the State Department and released Wednesday.“Given recent large declines in oil prices and the uncertainty of oil price projections, the additional low price scenario included in the (State report) should be given additional weight during decision making, due to the potential implications of lower oil prices on project impacts, especially greenhouse gas emissions.”The State Department’s report had concluded that the Canadian oilsands would keep growing at a similar pace, unless the long-term oil price fell under the $65-$75 range and no other pipelines got built.One year later, oil is at $50 a barrel and no other pipelines have yet been built.The State Department is now in the final stages of preparing its long-awaited, oft-delayed review of the project, and gathering input from other agencies including the EPA.It will soon make a recommendation to the president, and he’ll make the final call.At the same time, there are plans within Congress to force Obama’s hand. So far, Obama has signalled he intends to veto bills that would circumvent his authority on cross-border infrastructure.Obama has said his decision will be guided by climate change — and whether or not the project would increase greenhouse gases.In its letter this week, the EPA compares the carbon emissions from the pipeline’s maximum capacity of 830,000 barrels per day to 5.7 million new passenger vehicles on the road.Environmental groups celebrated the letter’s release Wednesday.“The president’s got every nail he needs to finally close the coffin on this boondoggle,” said Bill McKibben, head of anti-pipeline group 350.org.In its response, pipeline company TransCanada Corp. said Canadian oil exports had gone up over the years, its carbon emissions per barrel had gone down, and it noted that oil sent through the pipeline to U.S. refineries would displace crude from Venezuela — which in some cases produces higher greenhouse gases. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email A favourite pro-Keystone XL talking point takes a burst of friendly fire read more