Kinder Morgan President reacts to #KMFace and uproar over protester lawsuit
“I know this work has struck a chord, and marshalled resources of opposition," said Kinder Morgan Canada President Ian Anderson.
The President of Kinder Morgan Canada gave a media briefing Wednesday to address the public uproar created after his company filed a lawsuit and injunction against several citizens and pipeline opponents, that the company believes are intimidating and assaulting its pipeline survey staff on Burnaby Mountain.
“I know this work has struck a chord, and marshalled resources of opposition," said Ian Anderson.
"I know not everyone supports this project, and I expect and welcome as many voices and opinions as possible.”
“[But] we are firm supporters of freedom of speech,” said Anderson.
Response to #KMFace
Anderson took aim at the viral social media movement with the hashtag “#KMFace” that pokes fun of the company’s assertion that protesters’ snarls were a form of assault, as the company's lawyer alleged in court last week.
"It seems to be making light of the blockading of the individuals trying to do the work and the intimidation tactics being used.”
The executive also admitted that some have viewed the company's lawsuit as “heavy handed,” but he said the intent was not to "stifle" dissent. He said the civil suit was a necessary part of any court injunction, and reassured that his company will not seek financial penalties from defendants.
“I have no intention of pursuing any damages, if we can undertake the work that we know we have the legal right to complete,” said Anderson.
Kinder Morgan is suing two SFU professors, a university admin worker, a retiree and a young activist over what the company claims is their “conspiracy” to thwart its pipeline survey work on Burnaby Mountain.
SFU biochemistry professor Lynne Quarmby is one of those being sued, and did not find the president's words reassuring.
"I think we need to be questioning how much freedom of speech we actually have if [the Kinder Morgan president] can threaten essentially to take away my house if he doesn't get his injunction," she said Wednesday.
Kinder Morgan lawsuit defendant / SFU biochemistry professor Lynne Quarmby speaking to a media and citizen crowd outside the B.C. Supreme Court last week. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.
A B.C. Supreme Court justice is expected to rule on the company's related court injunction against the pipeline opponents no later than Monday, Nov.17.
The business leader, who leads the Canadian division of the larger Texas-based Kinder Morgan company, said the attempted pipeline-drill studies are being "stopped by individuals intent on people civil disobedience and intimidation."