Canadian police arrest two at Kinder Morgan pipeline protest

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canadian police arrested two people on Thursday at a protest over Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after the protesters began blocking highway traffic and equipment.

A man, 23, and a woman, 22, were arrested for mischief, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said. The man was released without charge, while the woman, who had locked herself to a piece of machinery, faces one charge of mischief.

The two were part of a peaceful protest in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam, police said, where preliminary work was underway for the C$7.4 billion ($5.88 billion) pipeline expansion.

Kinder Morgan Canada is hoping to move ahead with construction on the project, which would nearly triple capacity on the existing pipeline to 890,000 barrels per day. It runs from Alberta’s energy heartland to a port in Metro Vancouver.

The project faces vocal opposition in British Columbia, including from the province itself, which is planning new rules to block increased crude oil shipments, prompting Kinder Morgan to eye its legal options. Environmentalists are concerned about the impact of a potential oil spill.

($1 = 1.2587 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Richard Pullin