VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP said on Thursday that it would clear its equipment and crews off a mountain in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby by month-end, after it lost a bid to extend an injunction keeping protesters away from the site.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge also threw out civil contempt charges against dozens of protesters arrested while rallying against the pipeline project due to confusion about the GPS coordinates in the original injunction order.
Kinder Morgan, which wrapped up drilling work at one of two sites on Burnaby mountain earlier on Thursday, said it will amend its work plan to ensure the second site is also cleared before the current injunction runs out on Dec. 1.
It had asked for an extension to Dec. 12.
The Texas-based company is doing surveying work as part of a regulatory review of a plan to more than triple the capacity of its existing 300,000-barrel-per-day Trans Mountain pipeline.
Environmentalists, aboriginal groups and many area residents are opposed to the expansion, which would allow the company to ship more tar sands crude from Alberta to a port in Vancouver and on to Asian markets.
A group of activists had for weeks been camped out at the company's work sites. Late last week, Canadian police began enforcing a court order for their removal, and have so far arrested more than 100 people.
Kinder Morgan said that while it will not be able to finish all planned work before Dec. 1, it believes it has obtained enough data for the National Energy Board, Canada's energy regulator, to complete its review of the project.
Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Eric Walsh