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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.

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- 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

Just how risky is Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion?

Heather Libby | Desmog Canada - May 21st 2015

Press Clipping: With the May 27 deadline for evidence submission to the National Energy Board’s review of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project fast approaching, the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver are stepping up. Last Wednesday, the City of Burnaby quietly released a report [PDF] outlining the risks and possible implications of a fire at the Burnaby tanker terminal. The results, to quote Mayor Derek Corrigan, are “comprehensive and jarring.” “It is remarkable that Kinder Morgan is even asking the citizens of Burnaby to assume such risks, but even moreso that the National Energy Board is willing to consider expanding this storage site in this location."

Economist Robyn Allan publicly withdraws from “rigged” review of Kinder Morgan pipeline

Carol Linnitt | Desmog Canada - May 21st 2015

Press Clipping: Economist and former ICBC president Robyn Allan has withdrawn from the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, saying she can no longer “endorse a process that is not working.” In a letter addressed to Sherri Young, secretary of the NEB, Allan said the “review is not conducted on a level playing field” and that because the panel is “not an impartial referee…the game is rigged.”

Up to 90 per cent of Burrard Inlet oil spill would reach shoreline in hours


Tiffany Crawford and Kelly Sinoski | Vancouver Sun - May 18th 2015

Press Clipping: An independent oil spill trajectory model created for the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, in response to Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion plans, has found that up to 90 per cent of the oil from a major oil tanker spill in the Burrard Inlet would reach the shoreline within 48 hours. Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson called the report "alarming," and said many residents believe the Kinder Morgan proposal poses "far too great a risk to our local economy and environment."

Rueben George blasts pipeline expansion project at Kinder Morgan AGM


Danny Kresnyak | National Observer - May 12th 2015

Press Clipping: Tsleil-Waututh First Nation representative Rueben George marched into the Kinder Morgan headquarters in Houston, Texas, with a strong message from his traditional territory near North Vancouver. "I am here to let you know that the Tsleil-Waututh will never consent to the Trans Mountain project — because it will destroy our culture, our way of life and our spirituality," George told CEO Rich Kinder and shareholders gathered for Kinder Morgan's annual general meeting on Thursday.

NEB grants Costco late request in Trans Mountain review, denied EPA extension

Emma Gilchrist | Desmog Canada - May 1st 2015

Press Clipping: The National Energy Board’s decision to grant Costco intervener status in its review of the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline is raising questions given that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was denied its request for an extension to the same deadline. The NEB wrote that Costco had provided sufficient reasons for the board to consider a late submission based on the fact “the project may cross Costco’s lands and it has the potential to be directly affected.” The EPA, which protects Americans from risks to human health and the environment, was granted a lower status as a “commenter.” Hmmmm.

U.S.’s spill-response fears are a wake-up call for B.C.

Gary Mason | Globe and Mail - April 29th 2015

Press Clipping: The mayor of Vancouver isn’t the only one concerned about Canada’s ability to respond to a major oil spill. Turns out, authorities in Washington State have also been raising alarms about the ruinous impact a significant leak could have on the waters of Puget Sound and beyond. One observation made in a briefing note to the state’s governor stands out for its jaw-dropping assessment at how our standards stack up against those used by our neighbours to the south: “B.C. lacks authority over marine waters and their federal regime is probably a couple of decades behind the system currently in place in Washington State ….”

U.S. worried about Canada’s ability to respond to oil spills, records reveal


Stanley Tromp | Globe and Mail - April 29th 2015

Press Clipping: Newly released U.S. documents show American authorities are nervously eyeing Canadian proposals to triple the number of oil tanker voyages through the shared waters off B.C.’s coast, saying among themselves that Canadian standards to clean up a major spill are decades behind those of the U.S. and leave states vulnerable to environmental damage and costs. “While other Pacific Rim trading partners benefit, our state will incur many of the risks. In the Salish Sea oil spill risks are being transferred by Canadian industry to Washington state, without sufficient controls,” the state’s Ecology Department officials wrote.