Coastal GasLink halts construction after access road is blocked – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – January 6, 2020)

TC Energy Corp. will be forced to halt construction on a section of its $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline this week amid an escalating dispute with Indigenous hereditary chiefs.

Construction workers, who have been away on holidays, are scheduled to return to the area on Monday, but won’t be able to gain access because of a blockage along a remote logging road.

On Dec. 31, a B.C. Supreme Court judge extended an injunction against Coastal GasLink protesters, saying the project has been harmed by the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s blockades. But hereditary house chiefs disagree with the court ruling and in an attempt to turn the tables, they issued their own “eviction notice” on Saturday on the Wet’suwet’en’s unceded territory near Houston, B.C.

“Over the past year, Coastal GasLink has operated on our territories despite our opposition to the project,” according to a letter endorsed by eight men who serve as hereditary house chiefs. “We must reassert our jurisdiction over these lands, our right to determine access and prevent trespass under Wet’suwet’en law.”

They addressed their letter to Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer and the manager of Indigenous relations, Jill Salus. In a statement, the company expressed disappointment by the turn of events. “Coastal GasLink personnel discovered that trees had been felled on the Morice River Forest Service Road,” it said on Sunday.

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