Tar Sands Solutions Network

Join Us On:

Kinder Morgan

Kinder Morgan’s Transmountain pipeline project would greatly expand capacity by building a new pipeline that would carry more than a million barrels of tar sands crude each day from northern Alberta to Vancouver B.C. The pipeline will travel through dozens of small communities and densely populated urban areas, and will vastly increase the number of super tankers sailing through Vancouver's stunning harbour.    

Oppostion from First Nations and the municipalities of Vancouver and Buraby has increased signifcantly, because expanding this pipeline would turn Vancouver – whose stated goal is to become the "greenest city in the world" – into a major heavy oil export port. Polling indicates 50 per cent of British Columbians are opposed. The risk of inevitable spills and leaks threaten a thriving economy of service, nature-based tourism, and creative industries. Opposition to this pipeline project grows every day.

Learn More

- Tripling capacity of 60-year-old pipeline to Vancouver, B.C.
Key Problems:
- 5X more super tankers in Vancouver harbour
- Local taxpayers on hook for 90% of spill clean up costs 
- Oil spills threaten tens of thousands of tourism, real estate, creative jobs
Current Status:
- Application process delayed because National Energy Board demanded more information from Kinder Morgan
- Decision slated for early 2016

This Texas-based oil giant's proposal would increase by five times the number of oil tankers, from 80 a year to 400, that leave Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet Terminal and navigate a narrow stretch of dangerous water before cruising right by the city's beloved beaches and world-famous Stanley Park.

Kinder Morgan wants to use Suezmax oil tankers, which are the same size as the Exxon Valdez and much bigger than the few tankers that ply Vancouver’s waters today. Each super tanker would carry up to one million barrels of heavy and toxic tar sands crude through Burrard Inlet’s Second Narrows, which poses a navigational challenge due to shallow waters and strong tidal currents.

A single spill in Burrard Inlet from either the pipeline or a supertanker would threaten Vancouver’s green reputation and ruin miles of Vancouver coastline, which is dotted with beaches and oceanfront property. It could also cripple a multitude of industries that employ over 200,000 people in nature-based tourism, film and TV, agriculture, and coastal industries.

Cleaning up a spill of this magnitude would be all but impossible. The Canadian and BC governments are wholly unprepared to deal with a major oil spill. The Harper government has shuttered the Coast Guard station in Vancouver and reduced the amount of environmental monitoring. In the end, B.C. taxpayers would be left to foot the bill, because Kinder Morgan's liability is limited to just 10 per cent of what it would cost – at least $15 billion – to clean up the mess they made.

Many of the risks associated with the Northern Gateway Pipeline apply to this project, too. Inevitable pipeline leaks threaten hundreds of salmon-bearing streams, and the roads and ancillary development that would accompany the construction of the pipeline would hurt B.C.’s internationally recognized grizzly bear population. It also unlocks the rapid expansion of the tar sands, which will lead to catasthropic climate change.

The benefits, predictably, are few. It will only create 35 new jobs and provide little revenue to provincial government coffers. That’s why opposition is growing exponentially in British Columbia. Several environmental and community groups have begun working on the issue, and local First Nations have voiced their opposition to the project. 

The expansion of this pipeline locks us into yesterday's destructive oil economy and offers almost no benefit to B.C. It must never be permitted.

Kinder Morgan Updates & Resources

Unbowed by Supreme Court defeat, plaintiffs demand full overhaul of National Energy Board


Fram Dinshaw | Vancouver Observer - September 11th 2015

Press Clipping: Environmentalists are demanding a complete overhaul of the National Energy Board (NEB) after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed a challenge on Sept. 10 against restrictions on public consultation in pipeline hearings. Vowing to take its fight to Parliament after Oct. 19, ForestEthics Advocacy slammed the Harper government’s reforms of the NEB Act as a violation of free speech, by barring scientific evidence of greenhouse gas emissions from hearings on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline twinning proposal, limiting the participation of Burnaby residents living near the planned route, and accusing the oil industry of influencing the rules to their advantage by appointing Kinder Morgan’s Steven Kelly as a member.

Burnaby formally asks NEB to cancel Kinder Morgan hearing


Mychaylo Prystupa | National Observer - September 8th 2015

Press Clipping: In the City of Burnaby’s strongest worded letter yet to the National Energy Board, the B.C. municipality has formally urged the pipeline regulator to cancel and restart the entire Kinder Morgan hearing process, citing extraordinary conflict of interest concerns — especially following the hire of the company's consultant to the NEB. Burnaby city councilor Sav Dhaliwal said Kelly's appointment was the “last straw,” even suggesting the Conservative government may have deliberately appointed Kelly to force the NEB to delay the hearing until after the election when it would cause less embarrassment.

Burnaby questioning timing of NEB delays

Tereza Verenca and Jennifer Moreau | Burnaby NOW - August 28th 2015

Press Clipping: Burnaby city council is questioning whether the Conservatives’ appointment of oil industry expert Steven Kelly to the National Energy Board was a strategic move to stall the hearings until after the federal election. Kinder Morgan submitted Kelly’s economic analysis to the NEB hearing, to support the pipeline expansion, but last week, the board announced the hearings are on hold and Kelly’s evidence will now be stricken from the record.

NEB postpones Kinder Morgan hearing following Steven Kelly’s appointment


Jennifer Moreau | Burnaby NOW - August 22nd 2015

Press Clipping: The National Energy Board is postponing the Kinder Morgan hearing until further notice because Steven Kelly, the board’s most recent appointee, is a consultant who worked on the Trans Mountain pipeline file. NEB spokesperson Tara O’Donovan wrote that, "The dual role of Mr. Kelly ... may raise concerns about the integrity of this hearing process.”

Pipelines: In Election 2015, which party has the best policy?


Editorial Board | Globe and Mail - August 19th 2015

Press Clipping: As Conservative Leader Stephen Harper pointed out during the first leaders debate, the oil industry is only a small part of the Canadian economy. (Yes, he really said that. Yes, he’s right.) And the pipelines that move oil are, economically speaking, only a small part of that small part. Yet pipelines have become the flashpoint. A whole series of debates over global warming, carbon emissions, oil spills and even jobs have been reduced to battles over pipe. So where does each of the parties stand on pipelines?

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion plan faces renewed opposition as crude oil price drops


Brian Morton | Vancouver Sun - August 11th 2015

Press Clipping: As the National Energy Board (NEB) gears up to hear final arguments on Aug. 24 into its embattled review of the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, opposition is mounting as the price of oil drops, making the project less attractive. “My own belief is that unless there’s another war in the Middle East of significant nature in the major oil producing areas, (then) I think there’s a good chance that oil prices won’t rise significantly for at least a five-year time frame, maybe even 10 years,” said Simon Fraser University energy economist Mark Jaccard. “If prices stay really low, I don’t think (Trans Mountain) would go ahead.”

Summer of discontent: Mega-project protests loom across B.C.


Cheryl Chan | The Province - July 25th 2015

Press Clipping: A number of major resource development projects in the works in B.C. are facing near-unprecedented levels of opposition from groups vowing the projects will never get off the ground. Facing a gauntlet of determined residents, environmental groups and First Nations are: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, the Site C hydroelectric dam, Woodfibre LNG and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project — the opposition to which is rivalled only by the legendary Clayoquot Sound protests in the 1990s, said Ben West, executive director of Tanker Free B.C.

Group aims to stop Trans Mountain’s financial offers to towns

Mark Hume | Globe and Mail - June 11th 2015

Press Clipping: The National Energy Board has been asked to stop Kinder Morgan from promising to dole out millions of dollars in benefits to communities along the route of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. A non-profit concerned about how the oil-pipeline project might affect water quality has filed a motion with the NEB objecting to financial agreements between the Kinder Morgan subsidiary Trans Mountain and communities that are participating in the board’s hearings on whether to approve the project.