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Greenpeace protesters blockade Kinder Morgan pipeline terminus in Burnaby, B.C.


BURNABY, B.C. - Greenpeace protesters vowed to halt work at Kinder Morgan's oil pumping and storage facility in Burnaby, B.C., as they began a fog-shrouded early-morning protest at the suburban Vancouver plant.

"We have shut down the facility today," said Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema shortly after more than a dozen demonstrators took over the site on the shores of Burrard Inlet.

"We have two protesters that are locked down to the front gates of Kinder Morgan," he said Wednesday.

"Right now I am watching two others scale the pipes used to load tar sands into the tankers that already come into this inlet, and then there are other activists that have climbed two storage tanks."

He said the activists intended to stay until they had sent a strong message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The protest was staged as the federal government prepared for the throne speech, which sets out its parliamentary agenda for the upcoming House of Commons session.

Greenpeace opposes expansion of pipelines in British Columbia, and Kinder Morgan wants to nearly triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline.

"With every extra tanker or kilometre of pipeline, we increase the risk of an accident that would be catastrophic to the coast and our communities," he said in a statement.

Currently the line moves about 300,000 barrels of Alberta bitumen and other petroleum products daily, but the company has applied to nearly triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels daily.

"Over 130 First Nations have already said no to these tar sands pipelines and tanker proposals and the prime minister continues to try to ram these proposals through," he said.

Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Lexa Hobenshield said in a statement the company understands that project of this size and scope tend to attract a variety of views.

"We have been and continue to be open to engaging with individuals and groups to hear their concerns and to share factual information on the project," she said.

Hudema said activists in Wednesday's protest wore armbands with "Arctic 30" printed on them in support of the 30 people detained by Russian authorities.

He said that was after two Greenpeace protesters tried climbing onto an oil drilling platform in international waters in the Arctic near Russia.