Company cites safety concerns as motivation for suit
Oilsands giant Syncrude Canada Ltd. has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace and 11 environmental activists after they went onto the company’s Aurora North site July 24 to unfurl anti-oilsands banners and unsuccessfully block a tailings pipe.
It was the same site where approximately 500 ducks died earlier this year. “Today we brought our message to the perpetrators of this environmental crime — it’s time to put the brakes to the tar sands,” said Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema in a news release after the stunt.
Now Syncrude is bringing a message of its own to the environmental group, seeking an injunction and $120,000 in damages. Company spokesperson Mark Kruger says the company filed the lawsuit largely because of safety concerns. “When Greenpeace trespassed onto our site last month, we were very concerned because the activists were unfamiliar with an industrial operation, and unfamiliar with some of the safety hazards that can be present,” says Kruger. “We just want to ensure that, in the future, nobody is putting themselves at unnecessary risk.”
Hudema is waiting to comment on the suit until he’s consulted more with Greenpeace lawyers. “The only statement we’re saying right now is we just wish that Syncrude was as diligent in cleaning up the environment as they are in persecuting the individuals that stand up for it,” he says.