Police arrested and charged one person at an ongoing “tree-sit” demonstration in Burnaby on Wednesday, aimed at stopping construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The man was “safely removed” around 10:40 a.m. by officers with training in high-angle rescue, an afternoon RCMP statement said.
He was charged with criminal contempt of court and released.
Demonstrators have maintained tree-sits in the area for about two weeks in an effort to stop logging linked to construction of the embattled oilsands expansion project.
They’re on private property owned by BNSF Railway in an area that violates a court-ordered injunction against blocking access to Trans Mountain worksites, police said.
RCMP were “incredibly fast” during the “extraction” process on Wednesday morning, said Bill Winder, who was taken from his hammock which hung in the pathway of pipeline workers.
“They all had my safety in mind and they really took care of me,” he told Global News.
“I really can’t complain about the RCMP, they’re doing their job. I would like for the politicians in particular to understand what’s going on, understand the ‘code red’ from the UN.”
Last month, the United Nations secretary general called the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group, “a code red for humanity.”
Opponents of the pipeline expansion say it would do irrevocable harm to the environment, push Canada’s emissions targets out of reach, and violate the sovereignty of First Nations who have taken a stance against it.
“If we hit a tipping point, nobody can stop it,” said Winder. “We are not saying, ‘Stop the Trans Mountain,’ we are saying, ‘Stop the Trans Mountain expansion.'”
The expansion triples the capacity of an existing pipeline that transports 300,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to terminals and refineries on the West Coast.
Last week, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the 980-kilometre enlargement could be operational until 2060, depending on international demand.
Supporters of the expansion say it brings much-needed jobs to B.C. and Alberta, in addition to billions of dollars in benefits to governments and communities.