An oil tanker is boomed off and docked at Kinder Morgan's Burnaby terminal to take on oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline. The number of tankers plying Burrard Inlet would increase from five per month to 34 if the pipeline is twinned.

B.C. NDP oppose oil pipeline approval

Criticism continues to grow as NEB hearings loom for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion project

B.C. New Democrats have staked out a formal position against approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion ahead of final arguments later this month before the National Energy Board.

In comments filed with the NEB, the NDP caucus urged the regulators to “recognize that because of the significant risks and the flawed and undemocratic process used to evaluate the project, it cannot be allowed to go forward.”

The letter signed by party leader John Horgan and environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert criticizes the NEB for presiding over a process that’s “fundamentally flawed and broken” and failed to answer key questions from intervenors, while allowing Kinder Morgan to conceal parts of its emergency spill response plans.

The NDP MLAs say those factors, as well as the exclusion of climate change as an issue to be considered, have led to a widespread public view that the NEB is “a public charade used to create the illusion of impartial consideration of projects, when in fact, these pipeline hearings have predetermined outcomes.”

The $5.4-billion project would nearly triple the Trans Mountain pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day between northern Alberta and Burnaby, resulting in a seven-fold increase in oil tankers plying Vancouver harbour.

The provincial government did not table written arguments ahead of a May deadline for intervenors but is expected to lay out its position during the hearings, which begin Aug. 24.

The province has maintained it will not approve any new heavy oil pipeline that doesn’t meet its conditions for world-class spill response capability on land and at sea, addressing aboriginal rights and opportunities, and a fair share of benefits for B.C. It opposed the Northern Gateway pipeline on the basis none of those conditions were met, but the Enbridge project still got conditional approval from the NEB and federal government.

The NEB is scheduled to release its draft conditions for construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Aug. 12.

Opposition also continues to come from the City of Burnaby, which indicated it will not step up policing for the project hearings and asked the NEB to make other security arrangements.

Other prominent intervenors have previously withdrawn from the process, in some cases declaring it to be “rigged.”

Various groups have urged the province to pull out as well and conduct its own review of the project.

While the B.C. NDP oppose the Kinder Morgan project, federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair declined to take a position under repeated questioning from Green Party leader Elizabeth May in an Aug. 6 debate. (See clip below.)

Mulcair said the project needs to be weighed carefully as part of a “thorough, credible process” and not be prejudged.

B.C’s NDP lost the 2013 provincial election after then-leader Adrian Dix came out against Kinder Morgan during the campaign rather than wait for the review process to unfold, a move the B.C. Liberals used to portray the party as against economic development.

Meanwhile, Trans Mountain spokesperson Ali Hounsell said the steep drop in oil prices over the past year has not hurt the viability of the project, which has binding, long-term contracts with 13 oil shippers who factored in the potential for market fluctuations.

Just Posted

Over-budget bids cause delay of four Surrey school projects

Two projects have gone back out to tender, two awaiting ‘revised budget approval’ from Ministry of Education

Fees ensure patients have access to parking at SMH, FHA says

Fraser Health Authority hasn’t heard yet from city hall about pay parking at Surrey hospital

Free hospital parking a non-starter in White Rock

City considering task force to look at parking generally – Walker

Surrey memories: How the ‘IGUISBCSIR’ Facebook page became a hub for anecdotal history

Former Whalley resident Wes Mussato launched the group in 2011, 11 years after he’d moved to Ontario

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read