Connect with us

Energy

15 people charged with criminal contempt over pipeline protest, 10 others await fate

Published

4 minute read

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The British Columbia Prosecution Service says 15 people are being charged with criminal contempt of court following protests last fall over a natural gas pipeline being built near Houston in northern B.C.

The prosecution service says it will take four more weeks to decide if there’s enough evidence to charge an additional 10 people, while two others who were arrested won’t be prosecuted.

Court documents say all 27 people were arrested over six days between September and November along a forest service road leading to a work site for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Those charged are alleged to have breached a B.C. Supreme Court injunction granted to Coastal GasLink in 2019 that prohibited blockades or interference with the company’s construction activities.

The 670-kilometre pipeline is expected to carry natural gas across northern B.C. to the LNG Canada terminal in Kitimat.

The project has sparked protests across the country in recent years by those in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who say it violates their traditional laws, while the elected council of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and others nearby have agreed to the project.

In a statement read in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, the prosecution service says it worked closely with RCMP to obtain investigative materials and considered correspondence from both a lawyer for some of the defendants and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

The review concerning the 10 defendants whose fate has yet to be determined will focus on their knowledge of the terms of the injunction, it says. 

There wasn’t enough evidence to show the two people who won’t be prosecuted were aware of the terms of the injunction, it says, even if their conduct had potential to infringe upon it.

“Because of the way matters arose, police did not have a copy of the injunction at the time of the arrests and were only able to paraphrase it orally after the protesters had been arrested,” the prosecution service says in the court documents.

The guidelines the Crown uses to determine charges in cases of civil disobedience say it’s not always in the public interest to pursue criminal contempt charges.

Factors favouring prosecution may include, but aren’t limited to, violent conflict resulting in physical harm, serious property damage, an assault on an officer, or less serious but persistent offences that significantly obstruct public access.

The Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused defied or disobeyed a court order in a public way.

A statement from the Gidimt’en checkpoint, a logging road camp that’s led by members of one of five clans within the broader Wet’suwet’en Nation, alleges they are experiencing an escalation of harassment and intimidation on the territory.

The camp issued a call to supporters last week saying it needs help to prevent Coastal GasLink from drilling under the Wedzin Kwa river, also known as the Morice River, which it says violates Wet’suwet’en rights and title.

Coastal GasLink says in a statement that it has dealt with numerous violations of B.C. Supreme Court injunctions since 2018 that are meant to allow safe access and construction of the project.

It says its work is fully authorized and permitted by the federal and provincial governments, with local Indigenous support, and the company agrees with the charges.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2022.

The Canadian Press

Storytelling is in our DNA. We provide credible, compelling multimedia storytelling and services in English and French to help captivate your digital, broadcast and print audiences. As Canada’s national news agency for 100 years, we give Canadians an unbiased news source, driven by truth, accuracy and timeliness.

Follow Author

Energy

EU lawmakers back gas, nuclear energy as sustainable

Published on

By Samuel Petrequin And Raf Casert in Brussels

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers voted Wednesday to include natural gas and nuclear in the bloc’s list of sustainable activities, backing a proposal from the EU’s executive arm that has been drawing fierce criticism from environment groups and now looks set to trigger legal challenges.

As the EU wants to set the best global standards in the fight against climate change, the decision could tarnish the bloc’s image and question the region’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

The European Commission earlier this year made the proposal as part of its plans for building a climate-friendly future, dividing member countries and drawing outcry from environmentalists over what they criticize as “greenwashing.”

EU legislators from the environment and economy committees objected last month to the plan, setting up Wednesday’s decisive vote in Strasbourg, France. But MEPs rejected their resolution in a 328-278 vote, with 33 lawmakers abstaining. The result was announced to a salvo of applause.

An absolute majority of 353 was needed to veto the proposal. If the European Parliament and member countries don’t object to it by July 11, the so-called Taxonomy delegated act will enter into force and apply as of next year.

Greenpeace immediately said it will submit a formal request for internal review to the European Commission, and then take legal action at the European Court of Justice if the result isn’t conclusive.

“It’s dirty politics and it’s an outrageous outcome to label gas and nuclear as green and keep more money flowing to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war chest, but now we will fight this in the courts,” said Ariadna Rodrigo, Greenpeace’s EU sustainable finance campaigner.

European Parliament rapporteur Bas Eickhout rued “a dark day for the climate and the energy transition.”

The green labeling system from the European Commission defines what qualifies as an investment in sustainable energy. Under certain conditions, gas and nuclear energy will now be part of the mix, making it easier for private investors to inject money into both.

With the EU aiming to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, the commission says the classification system is crucial to direct investments into sustainable energy. It estimates that about 350 billion euros of investment per year will be needed to meet the 2030 targets.

The question of nuclear power has divided environmentalists, energy experts and governments for years, with some arguing it’s an important source of energy because it’s produced with no emissions and thus “clean,” while others say the risks of nuclear reactions are too great and infrastructure is slow and costly to build. Liquid natural gas, clearly a fossil fuel, is roundly criticized in environmental circles.

Germany’s industrial lobby group BDI welcomed the vote, saying it cleared the way for financing the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

“Gas is our bridge technology to the renewable age,” said its deputy head, Holger Loesch.

The BDI called for more investments in gas infrastructure, including LNG terminals, to ensure sufficient supply amid the current energy crisis, but added that new gas power plants need to be capable of handling hydrogen eventually.

Introducing gas and nuclear into the equation has divided the 27 member countries amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, and even the parliament’s political groups.

Luxembourg’s energy minister, Claude Turmes, said he deeply regretted the European Parliament’s failure to bloc the commission’s plan, adding that his country — together with Austria — would move ahead with legal efforts to block the labeling of nuclear and gas as sustainable.

Steffen Hebestreit, a spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said that “the German government stands by its position and considers nuclear energy as unsustainable.”

“Nevertheless, the German government believes that the taxonomy is an important instrument for achieving climate protection targets, because it is clear that natural gas is an important bridging technology for us on the way to CO2 neutrality and the inclusion of the use of natural gas in the delegated act takes this into account,” Hebestreit added.

Protests that had started on Tuesday continued Wednesday outside the EU legislature as lawmakers debated the issue.

Environmentalists warned the vote could set a precedent for lawmakers elsewhere to label polluting forms of energy as sustainable.

“We have now officially validated greenwashing by law,” said Tsvetelina Kuzmanova of the climate think tank E3G.

“The process and the decision have been entirely political, not scientific, to only benefit a small number of member states,” she said. “This would not stand a chance in court and will only create more uncertainty for financial markets and jeopardize (the) EU’s climate ambition.”

The youth activist group Fridays for Future said billions of euros could be pumped into gas infrastructure and nuclear power plants as a result of the decision, diverting much-needed funds from renewable alternatives.

One argument for rejecting the proposal is that it will boost Russian gas sales at a time when it is invading neighboring Ukraine, but the European Commission said it had received a letter from the Ukrainian government backing its stance.

European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness quoted from the letter from Ukraine’s energy minister Tuesday: “I strongly believe that the inclusion of gas and nuclear in the taxonomy is an important element of the energy security in Europe, especially with a view to replacing Russian gas.”

“I don’t think we should second-guess this letter,” McGuinness said.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has prompted the 27-nation bloc to sever ties with some Russian fossil fuels. Member countries have agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil by year-end in addition to a ban on imports of Russian coal that will start in August.

But the EU hasn’t included gas — a fuel used to power factories and generate electricity — in its own sanctions for fear of seriously harming the European economy. Before the war in Ukraine, it relied on Russia for 25% of its oil and 40% of its natural gas.

___

Frank Jordans and Kirsten Grieshaber contributed to this report from Berlin.

Continue Reading

Alberta

First test production of plastic a milestone for Heartland Petrochemical Complex

Published on

CALGARY — The $4.3-billion Heartland Petrochemical Complex, which has been under construction northeast of Edmonton since 2018, has produced its first plastic pellets.

Owner and operator Inter Pipeline Ltd. said Tuesday the newly commissioned facility has been producing test pellets steadily since late June, an important milestone en route to the expected start of full commercial operation sometime this fall.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex will convert Alberta propane into 525,000 tonnes per year of polypropylene beads, an easily transported form of plastic that is used in the manufacturing of a wide range of finished products.

Steven Noble, spokesman for Calgary-based Inter Pipeline, said the facility will be the first integrated propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene production facility in North America. He said approximately 70 per cent of Heartland’s total production capacity has been already contracted out to long-term customers.

“Through the duration of the project’s construction, we’ve seen demand for polypropylene increase significantly … including at one point hitting an all-time record (market price),” Noble said in an interview. “The demand that we initially forecast certainly hasn’t gone away.”

The Heartland facility is being built with the support of a $408-million grant from Alberta’s provincial government. The cash grant, part of an incentive program aimed at growing the province’s petrochemicals sector, is to be paid to Inter Pipeline in equal instalments over three years once the complex is operational.

Noble said by creating a new market for propane, the Heartland facility is an example of how natural resource development in Alberta is diversifying.

“The fact that we’re now looking at our raw resources in a different way, and figuring out different ways to get value out of them and create other refined products right here at home … is really the part of the story that everyone here is excited about,” he said.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex is expected to employ 300 people once fully operational.

The polypropylene produced at the facility will be branded as Heartland Polymers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

july, 2022

thu14jul5:30 pm7:30 pmPregnancy & Loss Support Group - Zoom Session5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Trending

X