Court to con­sider con­tin­u­ing in­junc­tion against LNG pipeline op­po­nents

The Prince George Citizen - - Local | Weather -

Coastal GasLink and op­po­nents of the com­pany’s nat­u­ral gas pipeline are set to make ar­gu­ments in Bri­tish Columbia’s Supreme Court over whether an in­terim in­junc­tion should con­tinue.

The nat­u­ral gas com­pany is build­ing a pipeline from north­east­ern B.C. to LNG Canada’s ex­port ter­mi­nal in Kiti­mat on the coast.

Coastal GasLink says it has signed agree­ments with all 20 elected First Na­tions coun­cils along the 670-kilo­me­tres route but hered­i­tary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Na­tion say the project has no au­thor­ity with­out their con­sent.

The court granted the com­pany an in­terim in­junc­tion in De­cem­ber against pipeline op­po­nents and protests erupted around the world when RCMP en­forced it in Jan­uary, ar­rest­ing 14 peo­ple along a log­ging road lead­ing to the con­struc­tion site near Hous­ton, B.C.

An in­junc­tion hear­ing is sched­uled for three days be­gin­ning to­day in Prince George and Coastal GasLink says the ap­pli­ca­tion would al­low the di­rec­tive to re­main in place with­out a time limit, en­sur­ing “con­tin­ued safe and unim­peded ac­cess” to the site.

Court doc­u­ments filed on be­half of the op­po­nents say the Wet’suwet’en have self-gov­erned since be­fore col­o­niza­tion and while the de­fen­dants ad­mit to pre­vent­ing ac­cess to cer­tain ve­hi­cles and peo­ple in the tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory, they did so in ac­cor­dance with Wet’suwet’en law.

Op­po­nents built gates along the for­est ser­vice road and a bridge, as well as ac­com­mo­da­tions and fa­cil­i­ties, but deny that they were built for the pur­pose of cre­at­ing a “block­ade,” says a re­sponse to the civil claim filed this week with the court.

Wet’suwet’en law dic­tates that ac­cess can only be granted with per­mis­sion from the rel­e­vant clan’s hered­i­tary chief, it says.

“Coastal GasLink’s wil­ful dis­re­gard for Wet’suwet’en law and gov­er­nance has led to their em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors be­ing de­nied en­try,” it says.

The com­pany says in a state­ment that its project will de­liver sig­nif­i­cant, long-term ben­e­fits for In­dige­nous and north­ern B.C. com­mu­ni­ties along its path and re­duce global green­house gas emis­sions by pro­vid­ing nat­u­ral gas to re­place coal burn­ing in Asian mar­kets.

“We are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to work col­lab­o­ra­tively with all com­mu­ni­ties and have a shared in­ter­est in en­sur­ing the safety of peo­ple, pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment, and the con­tin­ued progress of this crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture project,” Coastal GasLink says.

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