An 84-year-old retired librarian said she was willing to violate a court injunction and go to jail, and she was arrested Tuesday as she and other anti-pipeline protesters crossed a court-ordered no-go line in Burnaby, B.C.
Barbara Grant joined activists on Burnaby Mountain, east of Vancouver, to demonstrate against Kinder Morgan's proposed plan to nearly triple its pipeline capacity to transport Alberta oil to British Columbia.
Grant said she has the support of her three children and three grandchildren, some of whom have joined the protest, as crews continued to drill two boreholes in a park and conservation area as part of survey work Kinder Morgan is completing ahead of a decision on the project by the National Energy Board.
"They believe, as I do, that this pipeline must be stopped," Grant said of her family's views on the Trans Mountain pipeline project, noting crews were working on public land.
"I believe that this pipeline is a very, very bad idea," she said. "It goes against practically everything I believe in. And I feel that the National Energy Board process by which the Kinder Morgan cause is being advanced is totally undemocratic."
Grant said protesters had gathered about a 10-minute walk from the site where crews were doing survey work. She indicated that she may cross the no-go line, which she did Tuesday afternoon. Nine others reportedly joined her.
She said being arrested would be worth it to make a point against the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
"For one thing, there's the extremely important issue of fossil fuels and climate change," she said.
Grant said that when it comes to the transportation of oil, B.C. is taking all the environmental risks that come with increased tanker traffic and the threat of an oil spill, and isn't getting enough much in return.
"The financial benefit is all for Kinder Morgan and those who have money invested in the oilsands. But there's very, very little benefit to B.C.," Grant said. "B.C. is just being used as an area through which the oil has to be piped in order to send it to Asia."
Injunction timeline extension requested
Grant's stand came on the same day that an application by Trans Mountain was filed in B.C. Supreme Court asking to extend the injunction deadline from Dec. 1 to Dec. 12.
The document states the protests have delayed Trans Mountain in finishing its field studies and it isn't responsible for that delay.
"It is in the interests of justice that the terms of the order be extended for a short period of time to permit Trans Mountain to complete the mandated field studies that it has undertaken ... and the expense and inconvenience already incurred," the document states.
"Completion of the work will serve to mitigate the damages suffered to date."
The National Energy Board announced Tuesday that it will launch a tour early next year in an effort to strengthen pipeline safety.
Peter Watson, the federal regulatory agency's chairman, said board members and staff will visit every province and the North to hear Canadians' views on how it can improve its pipeline safety program and they will issue a report by early 2016.
The Trans Mountain expansion proposal has triggered protests from several groups, including Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion, or BROKE, though Grant said she's not part of any group.
Some First Nations have also expressed anger over Kinder Morgan's $5.4-billion plan to expand the existing line linking Alberta oilsands to the company's tanker terminal on Port Metro Vancouver.
On Monday, a First Nation elder told an NEB hearing in Victoria that the proposal threatens traditional hunting, food sources and archeological sites.
Simon Smith said his band, the Tsartlip First Nation of southern Vancouver Island, support protesters against the survey work on Burnaby Mountain.
At least 78 people have been arrested since last week, and most of them have been charged with civil contempt.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has already dismissed an application by the City of Burnaby for an injunction against survey crews on Burnaby Mountain, Kinder Morgan's preferred route for a portion of its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.