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.

 

Just Posted

‘Gone are the days of leaving your vehicle and your house unlocked’

Agassiz RCMP tell residents to secure cars, homes during high crime season

It’s about to get hot: Special weather statement issued for Lower Mainland

Temperatures expected to rise and stick around till next week, Environment Canada forecasts

Highway crashes double in Fraser Valley, truck traffic also up steeply

Unclear if doubling of Fraser Valley highway crashes is linked to spike in truck traffic

Harrison labour dispute continues after Wednesday meeting

Village taking time to review workers’ offer

UPDATE: Picketing at Harrison festival ends

Negotiations between workers and Village scheduled for Wednesday afternoon

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

VIDEO: Langley City legendary water fight was a soaking good time

And perfectly timed for a hot weather warning

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

B.C. Lions claw their way back to score 20-17 victory over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Bombers, who beat the Lions 41-19 last week in Edmonton, fell to 2-3 with the loss

Most Read