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'The Fight is Just Beginning': Group Shuts Down Enbridge Line 9 Construction

Despite injunction, protesters erect human blockade at Toronto pump station

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A barricade at the back gate of the North Westover pump station (Photo via Swamp Line 9)For the sixth day, protesters have barricaded an Enbridge tar sands pump station in an effort to halt the "endless resource extraction" and stop construction meant to reverse the flow of Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline, which soon will carry toxic diluted bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands through communities and watersheds to eventual export on the East Coast of the United States.

Police from the rural town of Hamilton, Ontario have reportedly delivered an injunction Tuesday morning by the oil company to the protesters, who have been occupying the site since June 20. At the time of this reporting, despite the injunction, four of the protesters have formed a blockade inside the gates of the North Westover pump station located in the Beverly swamp.

"Three of them have encased themselves in a makeshift structure that is heavily chained to the facility fence. One other person is sitting on top of the structure," according to a statement released by the group Swamp Line 9, which added that the protesters "will stay in place for as long as they can with the intention of further disrupting construction on the Line 9 pipeline."

According to CBC, the injunction gives protesters two hours to leave the site.

Protesters chained to the fence North Westover pump station despite the injunction. (Photo via Swamp Line 9)

Line 9 is an existing pipeline that currently runs east to west from Montreal to Sarnia; however Enbridge has applied to reverse the direction of the pipeline in order to ship tar sands oil from the tar sands fields of Alberta to an export terminal in South Portland, Maine.

In what the group is calling a "rigged game," Canada's National Energy Board has already approved the first leg of the project without the "usual environmental oversights."

"The Line 9 reversal is, from the perspective of the powerful, a foregone conclusion and they have insultingly offered only the most meaningless opportunities for public engagement," the group continues, referring to the public hearings for the project's second leg, which are scheduled for the fall. Anticipating a 'green light,' Enbridge has already begun construction on the route.

"First Enbridge tried getting the Line 9 reversal done by stealth, then by trickery, and now, finally, they will do it by force," added protester Trish Mills.

The Swamp Line 9 statement continues:

Since taking this site last Thursday, we have seen Enbridge spill 750 barrels of oil into a fresh water stream in Northern Alberta. To the East we have seen a brutal police crackdown on anti-fracking protestors in New Brunswick. Our struggle here in Westover is part of a broader picture. We stand in solidarity with all communities who are resisting against endless resource extraction and the destruction that these companies cause.

[...]

To Enbridge, we have this to say: this Line 9 pipeline expansion project will not happen. [...] You are going to be swamped with resistance at every step of the way. This fight is just beginning.

Tuesday's confrontation comes as protesters across Canada rallied around Swamp Line Nine in roughly a dozen planned actions. It is the first day of Sovereignty Summer called for by the Canadian environmental movement groups Idle No More and Defenders of the Land.

Among the actions, the Sierra Club Prairie Chapter will be hosting a local solidarity action in Edmonton and in Toronto activists are marching on the Provincial Court Office to declare that "when governments, courts, and industry fail, the people will stand in solidarity and defend the land!"

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