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Protesters lose Trans Mountain court battle

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by JOC Digital Media

The Supreme Court of B.C. has ruled in favour of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and given protesters preventing workers from performing field tests in Burnaby a Nov. 17 deadline to leave.
Protesters lose Trans Mountain court battle

Over the past two years, Trans Mountain crews have been doing fieldwork and studies to assess the proposed pipeline corridor, but need more time to map an exact path.

"There is no doubt that the plaintiff has the express lawful authority to access those parts of the land from which its representatives have been impeded," wrote Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen in his judgment.

"As much as the right of public dissent must be carefully protected, what is at issue in the present case goes beyond that," he wrote.

The judgment explained that Cullen wrestled with where to draw the line between legitimate protest involving freedom of expression and unlawful activity. Court records described the protests which included blocking workers, impeding surveying, aggressive shouting and using bullhorns close to the ears of work crews.

To proceed in the application process, tests need to be conducted on Burnaby Mountain where Trans Mountain is considering to run the pipeline. The surveying consists of environmental field studies and geotechnical assessment. Despite legal challenges from the city, the National Energy Board has ruled Trans Mountain does not need Burnaby's permission to access the lands.

The environmental portion will mainly be observational, but experts will also do some digging with augers or shovels.

They will look at soil, watercourses, groundwater, wildlife, terrestrial ecosystem mapping, vegetation, archeology and more.

The proposed pipeline is an expansion of its current 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Strathcona County (near Edmonton) and Burnaby.

The proposed expansion, if approved, would create a twinned pipeline that would increase the capacity of the system from 300,000 barrels per day, to 890,000 barrels per day.

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