BC High Court Extends CGL Injunction
The BC Supreme Court, in a judgement handed down December 31, has made permanent a temporary injunction awarded more than a year ago barring certain First Nations hereditary chiefs from blocking access to the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline right-of-way.
The judgment also provides terms by which the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies can enforce the injunction.
In her ruling, Madam Justice Marguerite Church said the blockades, which have existed on the Morice River forest service road south of Houston, in BC’s northern interior, since 2012, could cause “irreparable harm” to CGL and to LNG Canada’s export project at Kitimat, which it serves.
“There is evidence of significant harm to the plaintiff and others if the Pipeline Project cannot proceed due to the plaintiff’s inability to access the areas beyond the blockades,” Justice Church wrote in her ruling. “This would include harm to the plaintiff’s contractors and sub-contractors from loss of contracts to the main contractors for each section loss of sub-contracting opportunities, which total hundreds of millions of dollars, including $620 million in contracts that have been awarded to Indigenous businesses.”
Since the interim injunction was awarded, CGL and five hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have negotiated an access protocol to allow certain work beyond the blockade. TC Energy, which owns CGL, said in a statement it would continue to abide by the conditions of that protocol and would continue to engage with affected groups to ensure public safety while its field crews continue to work on critical projects.
“Coastal GasLink remains focused on constructing this approved and permitted $6.6bn project safely and with respect for our indigenous partners and local communities along the route,” TC Energy said. “We are proud of the relationships we’ve built with all 20 First Nations along the corridor, the significant benefits we continue to deliver to indigenous and local communities, and the role we are playing in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.”