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TC Energy's Coastal GasLink draws urban protests, potential sabotage

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they found felled trees and potentially harmful traps along an access road to a construction site for TC Energy Corp.'s Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. project.

The findings came as protests against the line shifted to urban centers as temperatures near the site plummeted.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or RCMP, in Houston, British Columbia, the detachment nearest to the site, said they found dozens of felled trees and partially cut trees along the access road. In a statement, the federal police force said the partially cut trees were dangerous because they could topple in high winds. The trees could also be pushed over to further impede road access. The police also said they found three stacks of tires covered with tarps and containing combustion accelerants, including gasoline, diesel fuel, oil, kindling and bags full of fuel-soaked rags.

"These concerning items have been brought to the attention of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs," the RCMP said in the statement. "They have also been advised that the RCMP has entered into a criminal investigation under Section 247 of the Criminal Code for traps likely to cause bodily harm."

SNL Image

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police found stacks of tires and combustion accelerants, along with dozens of felled trees, along a road that provides access to a Coastal GasLink pipeline construction site.
Source: Royal Canadian Mounted Police

A subset of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation known as Dark House has been leading the protest against the Coastal GasLink construction. While the pipeline company has access and benefit agreements with elected leaders of the Wet'suwet'en, the breakaway group, with the backing of hereditary chiefs, claims the company is on unceded land and cannot proceed. TC Energy has a British Columbia court order enforcing access to the construction site. The Calgary, Alberta-based company has withdrawn its personnel from a construction camp in the disputed region.

Protests against the pipeline's construction took place in urban centers, including Vancouver, British Columbia, and London, Ontario, on Jan. 11. Television network CTV News Channel reported that hundreds of people participated in a march Jan. 11 that started at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in downtown Vancouver. Global News reported Jan. 13 that protesters staged a rolling protest on a major southern Ontario highway near the city of London. The actual protest site was quiet as temperatures in the region were forecast to plunge to -22 degrees F on Jan. 14.

The C$6.6 billion Coastal GasLink project would span 670 kilometers of northern British Columbia to connect shale gas fields in the northeastern part of the province with the Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada Development Inc. export project on the Pacific Coast. TC Energy recently agreed to sell a majority stake in the project to KKR & Co. Inc. and Alberta Investment Management Corp.