The Vancouver office of Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) was raided this morning, October 17, by federal court bailiffs for failing to pay a $14,559 bill owed to Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB), following a failed court challenge of the company’s Line 9 pipeline reversal project.
ForestEthics, which later became Stand.earth, was involved in a federal court appeal of the NEB decision. The appeal was dismissed but was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Enbridge was an intervener in the case and was awarded costs of $14,559 when the challenge was dismissed.
But Stand.earth never paid the bill, and so on October 17, Enbridge received a court order for bailiffs to seize property, which will be sold to pay the bill.
Stand.earth spokesperson Karen Mahon told Business in Vancouver that bailiffs had entered the office Tuesday morning, took photographs and informed the environmental organization they would be back with a truck to seize property, which will be sold.
“I don’t think this is about damages,” she added. “This is $14,000 that a company that made $4.6 billion last year is trying to collect. For us, this is clearly an act of intimidation. It’s clearly not about the money. Enbridge doesn’t need $14,000.”
Just a couple of hours after bailiffs arrived, Enbridge released a terse statement, saying it has decided against seizing Stand’s property after all.
“We have asked the sheriffs not to seize any assets from Stand.Earth, and will not be pursuing the matter further,” Enbridge communications adviser Jesse Semko said in an email.
“This is a legal matter and Enbridge does not publicly discuss legal matters.”
According to Stand.earth’s most recent financial statements from 2015, the environmental group had $2.7 million in revenue from donations, foundation grants and other revenue, had expenditures of $2.1 million, and ended the year with $1.4 million in net assets.