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Burnaby RCMP have arrested seven activists for protesting Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan's drilling activities in the Salish Sea and Burrard Inlet off the southwestern coast of British Columbia. The arrest took place Monday at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, where demonstrators had camped overnight on a Kinder Morgan barge being used for test drilling.
"You do not have the consent of Indigenous people to work on unceded Indigenous territory," said a protester, caught on camera, through a megaphone to individuals demanding that he and his company vacate the barge.
On Sunday, two Tsleil-Waututh hereditary chiefs had served the company an official "cease and desist" work order for starting its drilling in the water on Jan. 14 without the express permission of First Nations communities in the area.
The arrests took place the morning before the National Energy Board hearings begin for Kinder Morgan's controversial Trans Mountain expansion proposal, which if approved, would add 980 kilometres of brand new pipeline to a system that already transports 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum from the oil sands in Alberta to refineries and marketing terminals in Vancouver and Washington State.
According to an RCMP statement, police officers asked the protestors to leave for their own safety as they impeded the work being done on the barge, where permitted, geo-technical test drilling is taking place approximately 100 metres off shore.
"The Burnaby RCMP would like to remind the public that the drilling barge is private property and as such those persons arrested will be facing criminal mischief charges," the statement added.