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 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

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road June 10. (Adam Louis/Observer)
One hurt following two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road

Agassiz Fire Department, B.C. Ambulance Service attended with RCMP

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read