Metro Vancouver will gather more information on the risks from oil tanker movements to Burrard Inlet in response to concerns raised by Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew.

Metro Vancouver to probe oil pipeline twinning risks

Region echoes Belcarra mayor's concerns on Kinder Morgan project

Metro Vancouver will embark on its own research into the environmental risks from Kinder Morgan’s proposal to twin the Trans Mountain oil pipeline even though some local politicians warn it may be a costly duplication of effort.

Metro’s environment and parks committee voted Thursday to echo Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew’s concerns about the project, particularly the potential for a spill into Burrard Inlet.

Directors also voted to have regional district staff conduct a preliminary review of marine and air quality risks from the expected five-fold increase in the number of tankers carrying oil from the Burnaby terminal.

Kinder Morgan is expected by year end to file its formal project application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to build a second pipeline that would nearly triple oil-moving capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.

Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters was among the directors who were concerned the review could evolve into a major investment of Metro staff time and money.

“I’m concerned a bit at the scope of this,” she said.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman, who sits on the committee but only has a vote on parks issues, also warned Metro could face “an extremely large bill” for work that might already be done by Environment Canada or the NEB.

“It’s a duplication of other levels of government,” Banman said. “My fear is this is being used as a bit of a political football to make more of a political statement than anything else.”

Air quality and environment planning director Roger Kwan said a detailed risk analysis isn’t possible until Kinder Morgan files more specifics with the NEB.

Kwan said the aim will be to ensure Metro is well armed to influence or advise the NEB on issues that are a concern to the regional district.

Metro will also have to decide whether or not to seek intervenor status at the future Kinder Morgan pipeline hearings.

Bowen Island director Andrew Stone said one “huge” concern in the event of a spill is the “off-gassing” of solvents used to dilute oil sands bitumen that could pose serious health risks and trigger large-scale evacuations of Vancouver and North Shore neighbourhoods.

Drew, meanwhile, has exchanged a flurry of letters with Kinder Morgan officials and says he’s still not satisfied with their answers, particularly regarding the response to the 2007 spill from the Trans Mountain pipeline in Burnaby that released 250,000 litres of oil, some of which reached Burrard Inlet.

He says the cleanup response was slow and containment booms put on the water in the inlet failed to fully contain the escaped oil.

Summer weather, daylight and the proximity of response vessels all made for ideal conditions, Drew said in an Oct. 31 letter to the company, “yet there was still a considerable amount of unrecovered fugitive oil that contaminated the beaches of Burrard Inlet.”

Drew has also raised concern about tanker lights and noise, the size of the proposed new three-berth loading terminal, and the risk of earthquakes that could rupture the pipeline and trigger a hard-to-contain land-to-sea spill, possibly in conjunction with a landslide near Burnaby Mountain.

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson a week earlier told a Vancouver business audience the risk of earthquakes is being studied closely but seismic reviews so far indicate Burnaby Mountain is “one of the most solid, secure rock bases in the Lower Mainland.”

He also told reporters the steady improvements in leak detection, valve shutoff and other technologies that would come with a new $5.4-billion pipeline would actually reduce land-based spill risks.

“It’s safe today, the overall infrastructure will be safer later,” Anderson said.

While much focus is on the risk of tankers sailing through Burrard Inlet to and from the existing Burnaby terminal, Richmond Coun. Harold Steves said he wants Metro to keep a wary eye on the potential for Kinder Morgan to switch to an alternate oil terminal near the mouth of the Fraser River if opposition to more tankers sailing past Vancouver proves too intense.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Outdoor AED unit in Surrey among the first in B.C.

SaveStation cabinet is alarmed and monitored – and hasn’t been used yet

Trade sends Surrey NHLer Brenden Dillon to Washington

‘We felt it was important for us to add a player of his caliber to our defensive group,’ says Caps GM

Suspect in Surrey forcible confinement arrested in Toronto

Constable Richard Wright, of the Surrey RCMP, said William Daniels-Sey was arrested on Feb. 16

Despite evacuation, coronavirus-quarantined White Rock couple still two weeks from home

Government chartered plane to help cruising Canadians return from Japan

ZYTARUK: Trudeau needs to stop dithering and fix blockade crisis

Trudeau noted Canadians are asking themselves, “What is happening in this country?” He’s got that right

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Nanaimo man wins lotto, plans to buy $16,000 fridge

Curtis Wright a winner in Lotto 6/49 draw

Most Read