Injunction granted against drilling site blockade in northern Alberta
Protesters have been blocking access road to PennWest drilling site since late November
CALGARY—A judge has granted an injunction against an anti-fracking blockade of an energy company’s drilling site in northern Alberta.
A news release from the Lubicon Lake Nation says the judge sided with PennWest Exploration.
The release says PennWest wanted a week-long injunction but the judge went beyond that request and granted a six-month injunction.
Lubicon Lake Nation spokesperson Cynthia Tomlinson says it is not the end of the fight “on the land or in the courts.”
The protesters have been blocking an access road to PennWest’s drilling site by Haig Lake since late November.
The group says the protest is peaceful and is intended to stop the company from fracking on traditional Lubicon territory.
The blockade is not supported by the Lubicon Lake Band, a separate group that has elected its own chief and council and is recognized by the federal government.
The protesting band and the federal and provincial governments have been trying to work out a land claim deal since the 1980s.
The province continued to issue energy leases in the area, including around Haig Lake.
PennWest and Lubicon Lake Nation Chief Bernard Ominayak’s group had been engaged in discussions until last February’s election of Billy Joe Laboucan as chief of the federally-recognized Lubicon band.
PennWest spokesperson Greg Moffatt has said the company is legally obliged to deal with the recognized leadership.
He said the company had hoped the Alberta government would enforce access to the site, and that it sought the injunction because the province wasn’t moving quickly enough.
Ominayak said he was disappointed.
“We as people do not have effective redress in the Canadian legal and regulatory system and it is actively being used as a tool to exterminate us in favour of natural resource development,” he said.