Greenpeace Canada blasts Syncrude lawsuit

Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:36pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Greenpeace Canada blasted a lawsuit brought against it by Syncrude Canada Ltd, saying the move was designed to intimidate critics of the sprawling oil sands developments in northern Alberta.

The suit comes after Greenpeace protesters targeted a waste-water pipe at Syncrude's Aurora mine, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, on July 24, demanding a halt to rising crude production from the oil sands, which the environmental group says is wrecking the environment.

"This is a punitive lawsuit designed to financially cripple a non-profit organization and intimidate critics of the tar sands," Mike Hudema, oil sands campaigner for Greenpeace, said in a statement on Friday.

"Syncrude does not want a lantern hung on the world's dirtiest oil project."

Protesters put a cap on the pipe to a toxic waste-water pond at the mine site.

They also raised a banner that read "World's Dirtiest Oil: Stop the Tar Sands" and placed a skull-and-crossbones flag on another pipe into the tailings pond.

The tailings pond garnered global attention earlier this year after 500 ducks died after landing on the waste water, which contains byproducts of heavy metals and other toxins.

"We are seeking an injunction for them not to trespass on our site in the future and put themselves at risk and our people at risk," said Alain Moore, a spokesman for Syncrude.

He added that the protesters had trespassed in an industrial area where there is large, complex mining equipment.   Continued...