January 7, 2020 / 11:09 PM / a month ago

Work resumes on Canada's Coastal GasLink pipeline over indigenous opposition

Jan 7 (Reuters) - Construction of the C$6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline in western Canada resumed on Tuesday, after an indigenous group that opposes the project had ordered its workers off their territory.

Coastal GasLink, to be operated by TC Energy Corp, will move gas from northeast British Columbia to the Pacific Coast, where the Royal Dutch Shell-led LNG Canada export facility is under construction.

While less contentious than oil pipelines, Coastal GasLink faces opposition from some leaders of the Wet’suwet’en people, who say the project interferes with their hunting and trapping rights.

The British Columbia Supreme Court granted an injunction last week against blockades preventing access for workers, after protests a year ago resulted in arrests. Wet’suwet’en Nation rejected the decision and said on Saturday that it had issued an “eviction notice” to Coastal GasLink from its territories.

Work has now resumed after a holiday break, Coastal GasLink spokeswoman Suzanne Wilton said, including clearing, construction of work camps and pipe delivery.

The company added in a statement that it would delay resuming work on a particularly sensitive site, known as Camp 9A, where Wet’suwet’en last year said they found stone tools that are thousands of years old.

Coastal GasLink said it has requested a meeting with the hereditary chiefs. But one of the opponents, Likht’samisyu Chief Dsta’hyl, tweeted that they would only meet with government and police officials, not the company.

Spokespersons for other chiefs could not be reached by phone. The Wet’suwet’en have scheduled protests through this week in several Canadian provinces.

Many other indigenous groups along the pipeline’s path support the project because it will create jobs and long-term financial benefits.

Private equity firm KKR & Co Inc said in December that it and Alberta Investment Management Corp would jointly buy a 65% stake in Coastal GasLink. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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