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Enbridge balks at seizing assets from environmental group to pay legal costs

Last Updated Oct 17, 2017 at 6:20 pm EST

Stand.earth (formerly Forest Ethics) campaign associate Hayley Zacks holds a copy of a notice of civil enforcement and a federal court of appeal ruling delivered to their office by a bailiff notifying them of the seizure of assets relating to a $14,559.19 judgement owing to Enbridge from a Line 9 pipeline court challenge, in Vancouver on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) says it has decided not to have sheriffs seize the assets of a Vancouver-based environmental group over unpaid court costs.

Karen Mahon of Stand.earth, formerly known as Forest Ethics, said sheriffs arrived at the group’s office Tuesday morning with documents that authorized them to take and sell the organization’s assets to recover money owed to Enbridge.

Forest Ethics was ordered to pay Enbridge’s court fees after the environmental group lost a court case against changes to Line 9, a pipeline that runs between Ontario and Quebec.

Stand.earth posted a photo of the documents online that showed the amount owing at about $14,500.

The group refused to pay the court fees as a “point of principle” and did not hear from Enbridge before sheriffs arrived at the office, Mahon said.

“We were shocked. We’ve had no communication from the company or anyone else that this would be happening,” she said.

“In that instant, it’s quite frightening, but now that we’ve had time to take our breath, we realize that this is clearly an act of bullying and we will stand up to a bully. We refuse to be intimidated.”

Enbridge spokesman Jesse Semko said in an email the Calgary-based corporation has asked the sheriffs not to seize any assets from Stand.earth and it will not be pursuing the matter further.

He declined further comment, saying Enbridge does not publicly discuss legal matters.

Mahon said the incident has strengthened the group’s resolve to fight pipeline projects.

The court fees were awarded as part of an unsuccessful lawsuit launched by Forest Ethics against the National Energy Board and Enbridge over what it alleged was inadequate consultation around the pipeline expansion project.