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Suncor sues Greenpeace over protest

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | 12:31 PM MT

Suncor Energy has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace in an effort to recover $1.5 million it says it lost in oil production during a protest on Sept. 30.

The Calgary-based energy giant has also filed an injunction to bar Greenpeace activists from its oilsands property, said Sneh Seetal, a spokesperson for Suncor.

"We have a responsibility to uphold safety, and the activists went on our site as uninvited guests, posed not only a safety risk to themselves, but also to our employees and contractors on our site," Seetal said Wednesday.

An unidentified protester sits on a conveyer belt in this image from Greenpeace's live video stream of its protest at Suncor's mine in northern Alberta. (Greenpeace)An unidentified protester sits on a conveyer belt in this image from Greenpeace's live video stream of its protest at Suncor's mine in northern Alberta. (Greenpeace) Twenty-one Greenpeace activists were arrested and charged with mischief to property worth over $5,000 after stopping two Suncor conveyer belts that carry oilsands material to a nearby upgrader, as part of a blockade at the company's open-pit mine near Fort McMurray, Alta., two weeks ago.

The activists next court appearance is in Fort McMurray on Nov. 4.

Edmonton Greenpeace activist Mike Hudema said he expects the lawsuit will be dropped, based on discussions he has had with the organization's lawyer.

The blockade at Suncor was the second protest mounted by Greenpeace against the Alberta oilsands within one month.

On Sept. 15, protesters chained themselves to two massive oilsands trucks after sneaking onto Shell Canada's Ablian Sands mine, an action timed to coincide with a meeting the following day in Washington between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama.

That protest ended peacefully the next day after Shell and the RCMP agreed to let the protesters leave without being charged.

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