Burnaby Mountain battle: notes from the courts, the woods and 100 arrests

Mychaylo Prystupa — The Vancouver BC ObserverThe Tar Sands Reporting Project — November 30, 2014

sunday_burnaby_mountain_kinder_morgan_protest_rcmp_clashes_-_mychaylo_prystupa_-_2014-11-23_18.01.52-4_w3000_0Kinder Morgan removed its drill equipment this weekend, after several momentous weeks culminating in more than 100 arrests on Burnaby Mountain.  The stories, photos, videos and emotions were incredible.  The following is some of our reporters’ notes from the field – from the courtroom to the conservation forest – where the dramas around the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal unfolded.

Our news team started seeing matters “heat up” on Burnaby Mountain in early September.  That’s when Kinder Morgan began cutting down 13 trees (the number is disputed) in the city’s conservation park on the mountain.  But its authority to do so was in question.  Burnaby’s Mayor Derek Corrigan expressly forbade the company from cutting down the trees, and said doing so was in violation of municipal bylaws.  It then began legal manouvres to try and stop the company.

Ostensibly, Texas-based Kinder Morgan, known locally as Trans Mountain (after the name of its pipeline), was seeking to do borehole testing, to see if the mountain’s geology could handle the last leg of the company’s hoped for Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline expansion.  Kinder Morgan is the largest pipeline company in America, and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Canada is the company’s most important project on the continent, a chief executive told investors recently.

If the export pipeline is approved by the NEB and the Harper cabinet next year, construction would begin in 2016, requiring approximately 4,500 workers for it to be built.

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More coverage from the Vancouver Observer on the battle for Burnaby Mountain can be found here. This article is the most recent installment from  The Tar Sands Reporting Project.

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