Wet’suwet’en supporters block a rail line in Seattle on Sunday, Feb. 16. (esulakshana/Twitter)

Trains through White Rock, Surrey could be affected by rail blockades

Coastal GasLink said it's signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

  • Feb. 17, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Trains running along the BNSF tracks through White Rock and Surrey could be affected by rail blockades south of the border.

The BNSF Railway Company, which owns the tracks along which passenger and freight trains run from the U.S. to Vancouver, said there was a protest that blocked its mainline in Seattle Sunday.

The company said the protest ended peacefully.

“We respect people exercising their Constitutional rights safely,” public affairs director Courtney Wallace told Black Press Media, but noted that “trespassing on railroad property is very dangerous.”

The blockade led to multiple Amtrak trains being turned around and passengers being loaded into buses to complete their trip. Spokesperson Gus Melonas said there were 30 protesters in Seattle and four trains were affected.

On social media, Amtrak said the blockades have “the potential to affect service into Canada until it is resolved.”

Activists have been blocking rail lines for days across Canada as part of a series of mounting protests against Coastal GasLink building a natural gas pipeline through Wet’suwet’en lands in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils through which the proposed 670-kilometre pipeline will pass through. However, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline and say elected councils have no authority off-reserve, including large swathes of traditional territory.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to meet with a federal emergency response group Monday as political pressure mounts for the government to do something about the blockades.

READ MORE: Federal emergency group to meet on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

READ MORE: No quick fix to pipeline protests, Trudeau says, as rail links severed

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

– with files from The Canadian Press.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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