Skip to comments.B.C. city Burnaby warns Kinder Morgan it could withold emergency services during pipeline disaster
Posted on 05/13/2014 5:42:16 AM PDT by shove_it
The B.C. City of Burnaby is threatening to withhold emergency services in the event of an oil spill, in the latest sign of municipal furor over Kinder Morgan Canadas Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Vancouver suburb is home to Kinder Morgans Westridge dock, making it the staging ground for a potential three-fold increase in oil sales to markets in Asia and along the U.S. West Coast. The Houston-based companys Canadian unit has applied to nearly triple capacity on the Pacific-bound pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day, potentially opening vast new markets and raising prices for Albertas landlocked oil.
Municipalities have no decision-making power with regard to the proposed $5.4-billion expansion, which is being reviewed by the National Energy Board.
If Trans Mountain does not have social licence and consent from Burnaby, those services may not be made available
But Burnabys hardline stance is another salvo from the municipal front in ongoing battles over pipeline expansions to the West Coast. The City of Vancouver, which is also opposed to the Kinder Morgan project, saw thousands demonstrate against Enbridges $7.9-billion Northern Gateway project over the weekend. Also Monday, the B.C. government asked Kinder Morgan for more details on its emergency response and spill prevention programs.
The NEB has constitutional power to ram a pipeline wherever they want, said Gregory McDade, managing partner with the Vancouver law firm Ratcliff and Company, which represents Burnaby in the Kinder Morgan expansion hearings. But they dont have the ability to compel the city to provide assistance.
In a thicket of regulatory filings, Mr. McDade raised the possibility of critical emergency services being withheld in the event of a pipeline-related disaster.
Related First Nation plan to build $50-billion oil pipeline needs more than social licence
From Keystone to Northern Gateway, pipeline execs admit stumbles in addressing environmental concerns Trans Mountain seems to have assumed in its application that the City of Burnaby would be largely responsible for fire, police, health and emergency services to aid in the event of a pipeline rupture or spill, he said in filings.
However, Trans Mountain has not consulted with or obtained any agreements or service contracts respecting its existing facilities and proposed project and none are contemplated.
He added in the submission: If Trans Mountain does not have social licence and consent from Burnaby, those services may not be made available.
The municipality also said it could potentially withhold road-construction permits sought by Kinder Morgan for ongoing maintenance work once the newly built pipeline is complete.
The city said Kinder Morgan has failed to provide a rationale or analysis as to why expanding the pipeline, tank facilities and marine terminal in a major metropolitan area is the best alternative or in the public interest.
It appears Trans Mountain chose this option merely because it already had an existing pipeline and facilities from the 1950s, the submission states.
The existing pipeline path is viewed by some in the industry as a more benign route to the West Coast for Alberta crude relative to Enbridges Gateway, which must break new ground across two mountain ranges and hundreds of rivers farther north.
Kinder Morgan has said it would seek to build the expanded pipeline along existing linear disturbances such as power transmission lines where possible to minimize damage through B.C.s densely populated Lower Mainland.
The company said Monday it would reply in detail to Burnabys regulatory submissions by the June 4 deadline.
We have a long-standing relationship with the City of Burnaby and have been operating responsibly in the community for 60 years, Scott Stoness, vice-president, regulatory, said in an emailed statement.
The City of Burnaby, as an intervenor, has full process rights to pose questions to the NEB and we are committed to answering those questions within the regulatory process through a written submission to the NEB.
This is not the first time the municipality and the company have tangled.
In 2007, contractors working for the city punctured a feeder line that carries oil between a storage terminal and the loading dock, where ocean-going tankers berth. About 250 area residents voluntarily left their homes because of the incident, which spilled roughly 1,500 barrels of crude into Burrard Inlet.
We never recovered anything from that, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said in an interview. Costs to the city stemming from the rupture were significant, he said, but he could not provide a specific figure.
The mayor said no decisions have been made by the city council with respect to the provision of emergency services. But he made clear the municipality is adamantly opposed to the expanded pipeline project traversing under city streets.
What were driving at is what are the commitments being made by Kinder Morgan in regard to dealing with potential disasters and accidents, and are those being left in the lap of the city?
For over 60 years, the Trans Mountain Pipeline system has been safely and efficiently providing the only West Coast pipeline access for Canadian oil products. From the time when Trans Mountain was first constructed, the pipeline system has adapted to meet the growing needs of customers.
Trans Mountain was most recently expanded in 2008 as part of the Anchor Loop Project. Approximately 158 km of pipeline was twinned between Hinton, Alberta and Hargreaves, British Columbia. The meticulous efforts of those who contributed to the project earned our organization the Emerald Award for leadership in environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Our open season process, conducted from fall 2011 to fall 2012, received strong binding support from commercial customers, and as a result, we moved forward with the next steps with a proposal to expand the pipeline. In January 2013, new long-term contracts were signed by 13 committed customers, permitting us to update and increase the scope of the proposed project.
Extensive engagement has taken place in communities and along the proposed route and marine corridor. We have engaged in open and meaningful discussions with landowners, Aboriginal groups, communities and stakeholders and will continue to do so throughout the project timeline. In addition, we undertook socio-economic and environmental assessments and engineering studies, the results of the studies and discussions have formed the basis of the Facilities Application to the National Energy Board (NEB).
Trans Mountain filed this comprehensive application with the NEB on December 16, 2013. Filing of the application will initiate a regulatory review of the proposed expansion facilities. If the regulatory application process is successful, construction of the new pipeline could begin as early as 2015/2016. The expanded pipeline would be operational in late 2017.
Our engagement efforts will continue beyond this filing leading up to the NEB hearing as we consider further input that is critical to our planning on this project.
We recognize that building and operating infrastructure such as pipelines impact many along the route, and we respect our neighbors and the communities where we operate. We are proud of our extensive history, demonstrated commitment to safe and reliable operations, and relationships with all who are affected by our business.
“We never recovered anything from that, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said in an interview. Costs to the city stemming from the rupture were significant, he said, but he could not provide a specific figure.”
Well...city contract workers DID cause the damage that led to the spill. So, duh.
And now, the city is saying, if there’s a spill...they’re not going to protect their citizens? Sounds like a clear case of “knife, nose, chop, face” to me.
Time for a recall election.
There was some argument over that pipeline puncturing by the city crews - they were following a map provided by K-M, and were following it correctly - the map was apparently wrong.
That incident - which produced a literal gusher of oil - totally ruined many houses in the area, which had to be bought out by the city. And land in Metro Vancouver isn’t cheap.
I’m not anti-oil, but there’s more to that story that should be considered.
We have a long-standing relationship with the City of Burnaby and have been operating responsibly in the community for 60 years, Scott Stoness, vice-president, regulatory, said in an emailed statement.”
We never recovered anything from that, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said in an interview. Costs to the city stemming from the rupture were significant, he said, but he could not provide a specific figure.”
Wow, they collected nothing in 60 years, landed no jobs, collected no taxes, local businesses sold no supplies in all those years. Sounds like they need a new local government instead of the one they have that has been co-opted by anti pipeline elements. We have the same problem on our side of the border, specifically the Keystone pipeline deniers.
I must have taken a nap while posting, I should change my handle to “ipost-slow”. :)
Just like in the US, Canada has a "call before you dig" program.
Make the call and they will come mark the location of their buried utilities and lines. That puts the responsibility on the owner of the buried lines if wrong.
If you dig without doing that call, you take responsibility for what you hit, same as in the US.
For more than one reason British Columbia is known as ‘British California’ and the ‘Left’ Coast! Not only the least severe winter weather in Canada, but the politics mimic CA.
What does Ian Kelly think about this?
"There is no such thing as a good tax."
everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to extract their pound of payolla.
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