Citizens show up en masse for Kinder Morgan court case (VIDEO)
“I don’t think Kinder Morgan wants you to hear what I have to say – and I think that is why they are trying to silence me" - SFU scientist Lynne Quarmby
More than 150 people showed up Friday morning outside the B.C. Supreme Court to show their support for citizens facing multi-million-dollar lawsuits by Kinder Morgan, over the company's claims that key individuals are organizing to thwart pipeline survey work on Burnaby Mountain.
A press release also stated that more than 80 groups worldwide have signed up in moral support of the defendants' fight against the Texas-based pipeline giant.
SFU Biochemistry professor Lynne Quarmby, who admitted she was "overwhelmed" by all the media attention, said her battle with the company is about climate change.
“I don’t think Kinder Morgan wants you to hear what I have to say – and I think that is why they are trying to silence me."
“As a scientist, I say things like it is a scientific fact that climate change is upon us, and is going to get worse.”
“It is also a scientific fact that the burning of fossil fuels is a major reason we are in this situation,” said Quarmby.
Likewise, SFU literature professor and poet Stephen Collis took aim at the National Energy Board, which has issued orders nullifying the City of Burnaby's bylaws, to essentially allow the company's contentious pipeline survey work to legally proceed.
“Another concern is the National Energy Board… it is unelected, it’s not a law court, and yet it is overriding municipal and often provincial laws right now,” said Collis before a large row of TV cameras and reporters.
UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip also told the crowd that attending the court Friday felt like "another day in the office" - which stirred laughter.
He said fighting Kinder Morgan's TransMountain pipeline expansion is no different than previous battles over Enbridge's Northern Gateway project.
“We stand in absolutely solidarity with individuals, groups and First Nations that are standing in public opposition to these ill-conceived, un-invited, unwanted heavy oil pipeline proposals in the province of British Columbia," said Grand Chief Phillip.
Officially, Trans Mountain is asking for an injunction barring protesters from blocking its crews from doing survey work at the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area Park.
The company is also asking for damages and costs in a civil lawsuit over what it claims is trespass, assault and intimidation by protesters who chased away workers.
“Our preference is to work cooperatively, and we respect the right to peaceful protest," wrote a Trans Mountain spokesperson earlier this week.
"However, we are required by the NEB to complete these studies in order to support our application, and we are pursuing our legal options," the spokesperson added.
The court case was moved to a much larger court room this week - to a room originally designed to hear the Air India terror incident many years ago. The highly secure court room was packed, and is expected to draw large crowds until the hearing concludes Friday.
All photos and video by Mychaylo Prystupa. Follow us on Flickr.