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Kinder Morgan serves legal papers to pipeline opponent via Facebook

The battle over Burnaby Mountain heated up in a Vancouver courtroom.  Several residents were hastily served with legal notices claiming they have been interfering with Kinder Morgan's survey work.

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SFU professor Stephen Collis outside BC courtroom - Mychaylo Prystupa

SFU professor Stephen Collis in a media scrum outside a Vancouver court building on Friday.  Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa
Legal battles heat up  

Collis makes no bones about the fact that he is not just expressing his opinions in the park – he is intent on stopping the pipeline, period.

“We’re trying to halt a pipeline project altogether,” said Collis in the courtroom elevator, on his way out to a crush of reporters outside the B.C. Supreme Court, late Friday. 

He said two other major legal efforts are underway to stop the pipeline – and he and others want to give them more time.

“We’re hoping the City of Burnaby can [stop the pipeline] in the courts.  We’re hoping that the Tsleil Waututh Nation can do that through the courts.  Anything, anything except this pipeline,” said the literature professor.

Meanwhile, ForestEthics Advocacy is waging a third legal challenge to the pipeline.  The enviro-lobby group is challenging the very constitutionality of the National Energy Board, which under new Harper government legal changes, will not permit the expression of climate change views as part of the regulatory review of pipelines. 

Kinder Morgan’s lawyer Bill Kaplan – who said he prefers his client described as “Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC” (which is wholly owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, NYSE: KMP) – said there are very good reasons to force the removal of the residents from Burnaby Mountain. 

For starters, he told the court that explosive charges will need to be detonated on the mountain as part of technical work to “geo-physicate” the grounds for the pipeline.  The company wants to determine the land’s suitability for a possible underground tunnel for the oil conduit.  So for safety reasons, people need to be removed.

Police may have to intervene

Also appearing in court was a lawyer for the RCMP, who said that “things are heating up” on Burnaby Mountain.  He advised that possible criminal charges for civil disobedience are in the works, and mentioned the 18-year-old who pinned himself under a Kinder Morgan SUV to prevent the vehicle from leaving.

"Things are progressing that police may have to intervene," said the police lawyer. 

A lawyer for a citizens’ group “BROKE” (Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion) said the company’s claim that residents are “trespassing” in a public park has no legal merit.

About 100 people packed the court room for the proceedings, many identified as pipeline opponents.  

Among them was 23-year-old Christopher Life.  He was videotaped Wednesday by Kinder Morgan crews during the citizen-company clashes.  He took issue with the company lawyer's assertion that citizens were trespassing.

"How can we be trespassing on public lands?" said Life.

Christopher Life and Kinder Morgan crew on Burnaby Mountain - Mychaylo Prystupa

Christopher Life being videotaped by a Kinder Morgan crew member on Burnaby Mountain on Wednesday - Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa

"I think they have [legal] expensive guns.... this is the only type of peaceful forum we have to oppose the pipeline."

During the proceedings, Professor Collis claims he got texts from people at Burnaby Mountain that the company was "secretly" continuing its survey work Friday afternoon, while most of the (opposing) residents were away from the mountain in the courtroom.

Friday, a company spokesperson denied that Kinder Morgan had continued its survey work.

The judge ruled that the proceeding would need more time for defendants to look over the "voluminous" three-inch binder claim made against them.  The hearing will now last three days, and will resume Wednesday.

Kinder Morgan protest outside Vancouver court - Mychaylo PrystupaKinder Morgan protest outside Vancouver court on Friday - Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa
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