A group of protesters prevented Kinder Morgan from entering testing sites in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area on Wednesday morning, where they had planned to resume surveys for their proposed pipeline project.
Protesters linked arms around one of two borehole sites, and one teenager even pinned himself under a Kinder Morgan jeep, saying oil was destroying the earth and that he would stay under jeep for “as long it takes.”
This confrontation follows the National Energy Board’s (NEB) ruling on October 23, stating that the City of Burnaby cannot stand in the way of Kinder Morgan’s plan to test at sites on Burnaby Mountain. The energy company announced on October 24 that they would resume testing after 48 hours.
In response, protestors worked over the weekend to reinforce two blockades which have been present for the past month. Stephen Collis, an SFU professor of English and spokesperson for the protesters said on Monday, “We’re going to peacefully and non-violently stand in their way.”
On Wednesday morning, at 9:30 a.m., Kinder Morgan crews had yet to arrive at the site where a flood of protesters had begun to gather.
When asked why she thought crews had not yet arrived, SFU professor of molecular biology and biochemistry Lynne Quarmby replied, “They’d be smarter than to show up in the presence of all this media and all these people. [. . .] They would be foolish to show up.”
However, at around 10:00 a.m., protesters spotted Kinder Morgan crews advancing into the woods towards the first borehole. Protesters, journalists, and film crews rushed to the site where self-proclaimed caretakers were already blocking crews by linking arms around the site.
“There’s just a tremendous amount of support from the community.”
Lynne Quarmby, SFU professor of molecular biology and biochemistry
Some minutes later, the surveyors left the site. In an e-mail, Greg Toth, senior project director of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project said, “At some locations, our crews were obstructed and have left for the day.”
For Quarmby, this was a victory for the people. “We put out the call, we let people know that we were going to be here, and it’s just phenomenal the number of people that are still pouring in, so there’s just a tremendous amount of support from the community,” she said.
When asked what she thinks the next few days will bring, Quarmby replied, “We expect that they’re going to try to outwait us, but [. . .] I don’t think you can overestimate the commitment of this group of people. We will out-wait them.”