Protester climbs into tree near B.C. marine terminus of Trans Mountain pipeline

BURNABY, B.C. — A mid-air protest has begun in British Columbia at the western end of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oilsands crude from Alberta to a port in Metro Vancouver.

Stand Earth spokesman Sven Biggs says 71-year-old grandfather Terry Christenson has climbed a tree inside the Westridge Marine Terminal, which is the facility where oil would be loaded onto tankers in a planned expansion of the pipeline.

This is the second protest for Christenson, who was arrested in March 2018 after climbing a tree in the same area to slow clearing for the pipeline construction.

Christenson’s first protest lasted 16 hours before he was removed, but Biggs says the professional mountain climber has enough supplies to remain in his new perch for a week.

Stand Earth says about 230 people were arrested last year for violating an injunction against protests at the marine terminal and other nearby infrastructure linked to the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The federal government supports the tripling of the pipeline’s capacity but suspended work on the expansion last August when the Federal Court of Appeal found parts of a National Energy Board review were flawed and should be redone.

Biggs says Christenson’s protest could be the start of many more.

“It’s a message to Justin Trudeau and his cabinet who are right now considering whether or not to re-approve the pipeline. If they do that, I think they are going to see a lot more actions like this mornings’,” Biggs says.

A statement sent by Christenson, through Stand Earth, says climate change will affect everyone and today’s protest is on behalf of his grandchildren, and grandchildren around the world.

“Canada is already on the path to clean energy and we must continue to diversify our economy, not build more dirty pipelines. I’m here today to ensure Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hears this message loud and clear,” Christenson says.

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