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'Kayaktivists' face mischief charges after disrupting Trans Mountain work

Anti-pipeline activists to appear in court in February.

Jake Hubley, 24, in the offices of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs on Monday, Oct. 29, 2017, two days after being arrested and charged with mischief for obstructing marine terminal construction work for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

David P. Ball / Metro Order this photo

Jake Hubley, 24, in the offices of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs on Monday, Oct. 29, 2017, two days after being arrested and charged with mischief for obstructing marine terminal construction work for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Four anti-Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters will face mischief charges in court on Feb. 27 for impeding construction work on the company's Trans Mountain expansion sea terminal in Burnaby on Saturday.

The protest came two days after the Texas energy giant asked federal regulators to intervene in a dispute with the City of Burnaby, which Trans Mountain alleged was stalling its permits.

Jake Hubley was one of several self-described "kayaktivists" arrested and charged with mischief on Saturday — after paddling a kayak past a line of buoys being installed as part of a security fence protecting construction work on the terminal, and under a crane.

"We did it to demand that Indigenous rights be upheld," the 24-year-old told Metro in an interview. "We stand with the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations.

"As well, this is the moment to prevent global warming and catastrophic climate change … Stopping this pipeline is about protecting our shared coast and our shared future."

Asked if he'd risk arrest again to stop construction, he replied, "Absolutely, I definitely would," but argued for the Crown to "drop the charges because this was a peaceful protest protecting the common good."

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion would nearly triple the flow of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands, and increase tanker traffic sevenfold from its Burnaby terminal.

"Where there may be a potential public safety concern, restricted areas are established," the company stated on its website, adding that its terminal and pipeline construction would "make every effort to minimize impact to landowners and neighbours" as well as "to minimize potential disruption or environmental impact."

Construction started in September after "extensive dialogue … with landowners, neighbours, Aboriginal Peoples, communities and other stakeholders," Trans Mountain stated. Those outreach efforts, it added, would continue "throughout the construction" phase and after.

On Thursday, the company blasted the City of Burnaby for stalling a number of construction permits as required by the National Energy Board and asked the agency to allow it to work anyway. Mayor Derek Corrigan alleged Kinder Morgan's CEO "put some pressure on (Corrigan) about how quickly the regulatory process was going with the City of Burnaby,” but insisted he hadn't interfered in the permitting process.

"The city remains opposed to Kinder Morgan's pipeline project and council will continue to pursue every legal option to oppose the project," Corrigan stated.

Trans Mountain declined an interview request about its NEB filing and the arrests, but directed Metro to a company statement that "the City’s failure to act in a timely manner raises serious issues of jurisdiction that we are compelled to bring to the Board’s attention." Last month, the NEB earlier ordered the company to stop work in B.C.'s Interior after it covered a river bottom with plastic mats to prevent salmon spawning — after spawning was already underway. The mats were removed.

Corrigan had condemned the federal government's 2016 approval of the project, alleging it had "(bowed) to the pressure of the oil lobbyists at the expense of Burnaby’s — and all of Canada’s — economy and environment."

Trans Mountain, however, has vowed its expanded project has above-standard safety measures on both land and sea.

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