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Province of B.C. formally opposes Kinder Morgan expansion PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Written by Joan Russow
Monday, 09 January 2017 18:33




Province of B.C. formally opposes Kinder Morgan expansion

Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal, from which nearly a million barrels of day of oil would be loaded onto ships.

VICTORIA — The B.C. government will formally oppose the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion in a written submission to the National Energy Board on Monday.
Environment Minister Mary Polak told The Vancouver Sun that the government believes that pipeline proponent Kinder Morgan has failed to provide the NEB with an adequate plan to prevent or respond to an oil spill.
“We are asking them not to recommend approval,” Polak said.
The B.C. government laid out in five conditions in 2012 that it said all oil pipeline projects would have to meet before they would be allowed in the province.
The second and third conditions require “world-leading” prevention and response plans if a pipeline fails on land or if oil is spilled into any rivers, lakes or the ocean.
“As far as we’re concerned, we have not seen the evidence in the hearings to support a conclusion that they’ve met our conditions on two and three,” said Polak. “So we won’t be supporting their approval at this time.”
The $6.8 billion Trans Mountain project would involve Kinder Morgan twinning its existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to its terminal in Burnaby.
It would increase pipeline capacity between Edmonton and Burnaby from 300,000 barrels a day to 890,000 barrels, and lead to as much as a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic.
Kinder Morgan has said it will mitigate increased risks of oil spills by increasing tug escorts in inland ocean waters and beefing up spill-response capacity. The company has also noted some First Nations support the project.
B.C.’s submission to the NEB mainly deals with spill response, said Polak.
“The evidence submitted to the NEB on Kinder Morgan’s specific expansion of their pipeline … they did not submit evidence of their ability to respond in a world leading way on the land,” she said.
B.C. is making progress on developing a system for oil spill response on land, said Polak.
But much of the responsibility for a marine spill falls on the federal government.
“While there is primarily federal responsibility, that doesn’t mean that a company couldn’t provide the resources themselves to respond adequately to a spill,” said Polak, adding Kinder Morgan has failed to “step up” to that job.
“If you look at what’s lacking generally on our coast, especially the capacity for tug response … we still have significant concerns. We’ve had attention from the federal government, that’s evidenced in the (re-opening) announcement on the Kitsilano Coast Guard base and I know there’s ongoing discussions with them. I know they want to see improved spill capacity on the coast. But we haven’t seen that yet.”
Outside of the NEB process on oil spills, the project has failed to meet any of the province’s five conditions, such as obtaining First Nations support and providing the province a fair share of economic benefits, said Polak.
“At this stage, no they have not met any of our five conditions,” she said.
Environmental groups, First Nations and Metro-area municipalities have objected to the project, arguing that a leak from a pipeline or oil tanker would be catastrophic for the environment and the region’s economy. Several studies have predicted an oil spill would cost the region billions, pollute the water, devastate marine life and devalue property prices.
The city of Burnaby and First Nations have tried to block the project in court, and more than 100 protesters were arrested last year after they clashed with Kinder Morgan survey workers on Burnaby Mountain.
The NEB must make recommendations to the federal cabinet on the Trans Mountain project by May 20. The final decision will be made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.
Trudeau has promised to overhaul the federal environment assessment process for projects, as well as include more emphasis on First Nation rights. His government has said projects already in the review process won’t have to start the process over, but there will be a transition period to allow for future changes to the federal regime.
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Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2017 18:45

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