The RCMP in the northern BC city of Houston is preparing to “rescue” more than 500 workers “trapped” by a blockade aimed at stopping the construction of a pipeline on independent First Nations country.
The Mounties said Thursday they are preparing a “rescue mission” as the blockade stops the flow of critical supplies to Coastal GasLink workplace and has increased the police presence in the region.
Coastal GasLink, elected to the Wet’suwet’s Council, calls for the resolution of pipeline conflict
“Our primary focus is on the safety of everyone, especially the camp workers, who are nearing the end of their essential supplies,” Chief Supt said. John Brewer in a press release.
“We were hoping that a solution would be reached without the need for police enforcement, but it has become very clear to us that our discretionary period should expire.”
The RCMP said it will now enforce a BC Supreme Court injunction preventing opponents from blocking access to Coastal GasLink’s activities permitted under Canadian law.
A benefit concert in Montreal for the Wet’suwet
“Morice Forest Service Road has been destroyed and access to the Coastal Gaslink is no longer possible,” it said.
The Gidimt’s clan is one of five in the Wet’suwet’s Nation and other elected Wet’suwet’s gang officials previously said the views of those in the blockade camps do not reflect their own.
If built, the 670-kilometer-long Coastal GasLink pipeline would transport natural gas from the northeastern BC. to a liquefied natural gas plant in coastal Kitimat, where it would be exported to global markets.
The project continues to cross the territory of the Wet’suwet’s Nations, and for years many of its members, hereditary chiefs and allies have tried to stop its construction.
Concerned about the security of local ecosystems and the sovereignty of their country, they say the project is “illegal” under the laws of their nation – the only ones they recognize on their territory.
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According to the RCMP, people at the blockade have engaged in “illegal activities”, including falling trees, stealing or vandalizing machinery and equipment and destroying parts of the forest road.
On a Thursday video statement, Cas Yikh boss Dini’ze Woos said those opposed to the project “do not mean harm to anyone” and he was “sorry” that Coastal GasLink workers are caught in the middle of the tension because of their workplace .
“But I must say, we gave ample notice to CGL (Coastal GasLink) that we would act on this,” he added.
“When we talk about the security issues, the RCMP is currently blocking kilometer 29 and not allowing any food supplies or medical supplies back to our camps, our territory, our independent countries, to our people.”
In its own statement, Coastal GasLink said the destruction of the forest road has seriously compromised the safety of more than 500 “trapped” workers at two huts in the area.
“It is unfortunate that the RCMP needs to take this step so that legal access to our cabins and public forest roads can be restored,” the company said Thursday.
“Our concern is for the safety of everyone involved. As soon as it is safe to do so, water and other supplies will be brought into our staff cabins.”
The Coastal GasLink project is more than 50 percent complete, and the company says it has entered into agreements with all 20 selected “original groups” along the pipeline route.
It is unclear when police will carry out their “rescue mission”, but the RCMP said access to the area, which it has cordoned off, will be based on requirements.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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