A group of around 25 protesters blockaded and successfully halted construction work at an Enbridge construction site at the pipeline known as Line 9 in southwest Ontario on Tuesday morning.
“We hope to stay here indefinitely,” protester Rachel Avery told CTV News.
The activists say the Line 9 poses a danger to people, animals, land, and water. Tuesday's action was specifically aimed at preventing the installation of a new valve.
In March, the Canadian government approved Enbridge's plans to reverse the pipeline's flow and increase its capacity.
Activists say such direct action is necessary because attempts at formally raising their concerns have been ignored.
“We’ve tried pursuing avenues with the National Energy Board and within local and regional governments," said blockader Rachel Avery. "The concerns expressed by individual people and municipalities were ignored. The official processes have merely rubber-stamped dangerous tar sands projects and failed to protect us, so we are here out of necessity. This project is also being illegally forced through without meaningful consultation of Indigenous communities. For example, the Chippewas of the Thames have appealed the NEB approval, but Enbridge has continued to work on the line regardless,” Avery continued.
The Thames Watershed is the drinking water source for over half a million people, and numerous rare species. The construction site is situated in active farmland less than a kilometer from the river.
The protesters are asking for support either by joining the action or bringing supplies to those already there.In July a similar group of protesters blockaded a different section of Line 9 between Cambridge and Brantford.