Injunction extended to all LNG blockades south of Houston

New Gitdumden Morice River Forest Service Rd checkpoint in area Coastal GasLink can access.

The interim injunction applied to the Unist’ot’en (Dark House) blockade at its camp now applies to the Gitdumden checkpoint built Dec. 17 by members of the neighbouring clan, according to a spokesperson for Coastal Gaslink.

The ruling came in Prince George Friday.

“The current interim injunction order applies to both blockades currently in place and grants the right to have them both removed to gain access to the bridge. The amended order dispenses with the need to post order documentation anywhere other than our website, and expands the order to include the prevention of any further blockades to the entire Morice River Forest Service Road (from Houston to the bridge and beyond). The judge granted all the proposed changes,” wrote TransCanada senior communications specialist and Coastal GasLink lead Jacquelynn Benson.

The Gitdumden checkpoint has been publicly suuported by hereditary chiefs of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, among others, and on Dec. 20 were joined by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The original injunction was applied Dec. 14 in B.C. Supreme Court and ordered the taking down of a gate on the Morice River bridge south of Houston blocking access to area west of the river that the LNG pipeline company wants to start work on in January.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The 670-km pipeline needs to be built to bring natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat’s LNG Canada export terminal if the $40-billion project is to go ahead as early as 2022.

The first ruling had three main components:

–Adjournment of the hearing of the plaintiff’s (Coastal GasLink) application for an interlocutory injunction to a date to be set no later than May 1, 2019, unless the parties agree otherwise.

–Extension of the time for the defendants to file and serve an application response, and a response to civil claim to Jan. 31, 2019.

–An interim injunction in the form sought by the plaintiff that will remain in force until judgment is rendered in the interlocutory injunction application or until there is a further order of the court, to go into effect the afternoon of Dec. 17. Enforcement provisions were deemed warranted by the Justice, who cited the Unist’ot’en’s social media presence in her reasoning. That means police can be called if orders are not followed.

“The area of the blockade is remote; the number of persons at the blockade varies; the time for the plaintiff to perform the work is very limited; and based on social media posts by the defendant, there is an indication that the defendants and their supporters may not obey the interim injunction order,” said Justice Marguerite Church.

The Justice said the work that Coastal GasLink said needed to start by this January would cause significant harm to the company, the 20 First Nation bands including Wet’suet’en bands like Witset that signed agreements with the company, and Wet’suwet’en companies like Kyah Resources. Kyah is jointly owned by Witset and Roga Contracting Ltd.

She added that those losses stood little or no chance of being recouped from defendants, and that most work is not set to begin on the pipeline in that area until June 2021.

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