Citizen Action Monitor

BC citizen activists shocked by Kinder Morgan’s multi-million-dollar lawsuit against them

Company cites citizen obstruction and interference with pipeline test work on Burnaby Mountain

“It’s intimidating, it’s bullying, it’s a tactic they are employing,” said residents’ lawyer

No 1177 Posted by fw, October 31, 2014

“Adam Gold, Mia Nissen, Stephen Collis, Lynne Quarmby, Alan Dutton and the pipeline-opponent-citizen’s group ‘BROKE’ were all served papers late Thursday. Many of the defendants are expected to appear in court Friday at 2pm in the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.”Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer

To read the original story, featuring photos of citizen protest actions, click on the following linked title. Alternatively, below is a text-only version, with added bold highlighting.

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Kinder Morgan slaps Burnaby residents with multi-million-dollar lawsuit by Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, October 31, 2014

Texas-based Kinder Morgan has hit several Burnaby residents and two SFU professors, who have spoken out against the company’s pipeline test work on Burnaby Mountain, with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit according to the defendants’ lawyer.

SFU professor Stephen Collis received the 1000-page stack of legal papers at his university office, just before he went out to teach his literature class late Thursday.

“Personally, you feel pretty freaked out – when they start saying $5.6 million in damages, and all this jazz.”

“I feel outraged politically that this could happen in a democracy – that a massive foreign company can accuse you of trespassing on a park.  That they can use the courts and their money and influence from barring you from your constitutional right to free speech,” said Collis on Friday morning.

In court papers, the company states several citizens have obstructed and interfered with its field studies to assess the feasibility of an underground tunnel for the last leg of its proposed Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline.

Adam Gold, Mia Nissen, Stephen Collis, Lynne Quarmby, Alan Dutton and the pipeline-opponent-citizen’s group “BROKE” were all served papers late Thursday.  Many of the defendants are expected to appear in court Friday at 2pm in the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

“Trans Mountain is seeking an injunction order against trespassers on Burnaby work sites so that we can safely continue field studies mandated by the [National Energy Board],” wrote Kinder Morgan’s senior project director, Greg Toth.

“Our preference is to work cooperatively, and we respect the right to peaceful protest.  However, we are required by the NEB to complete these studies in order to support our application, and we are pursuing our legal options,” he added.

In the affidavit, Kinder Morgan states that each month the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is delayed, the company incurs $5,643,000 in expenses, as well as $88 million per month in lost revenues.

Many of the defendants were on Burnaby Mountain on Wednesday when company crews clashed with dozens of citizens deep inside the forest conservation park.  Many citizens got in the face of the crew members and hurled insults.  An 18-year-old also pinned himself under a Kinder Morgan SUV to prevent it from leaving.

The company crews responded by filming the protesters with videocameras.  The multinational giant was recently granted access to the area by Canada’s National Energy Board, against the wishes of the City of Burnaby.

The company is now seeking to have residents barred from interfering with its field work further, and have provided a map to show where it would like citizens to not go.

The lawyer for BROKE (Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion) said the law suit will be fought vigorously.

“It’s intimidating, it’s bullying, it’s a tactic they are employing,” said lawyer Neil Chantler on Friday.

“Kinder Morgan has been given temporary access to do survey work.  That does not exclude the access rights that everyone else has to that land.  And they are asserting exclusive access,” he added.

Another SFU professor – biochemistry lecturer Lynne Quarmby – also got served, and called the legal action “crazy.”

She recently wrote an op/ed to the Vancouver Observer explaining her willingness to be arrested to stop the pipeline project, citing mainly climate change concerns as a long-time scientist.

“The only world in which it is okay to continue building new infrastructure for fossil fuels with no consideration for climate change is a world where we don’t care about the future, or about other places on the globe, or about disappearing species, or about ocean acidification,” she wrote.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would triple the current pipeline’s current flow of Alberta oil, and result in the movement of 400 super tankers per year out of the Port of Vancouver.

One of the company’s largest shareholders is Rich Kinder – a reclusive American billionaire, and former Enron executive.

To view the details of Kinder Morgan’s legal action, click on http://www.scribd.com/doc/245118912/Kinder-Morgan-legal-action-against-Burnaby-residents

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2014 by in environmental activism, moral & ethical counterpower, political action and tagged , , .
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