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

Overview:
- 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

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.

Whoops — BC government misses NEB deadline for Kinder Morgan pipeline review

Mychaylo Prystupa | National Observer - June 4th 2015

Press Clipping: The B.C. Christy Clark government is one of the least involved governments in the federal review of Kinder Morgan's proposed Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline, the National Observer has learned—even though the pipeline would cross hundreds of kilometres of B.C. Crown land, slice five provincial parks, cross dozens of waterways, and result in six-times more oil tankers off Canada’s west coast. "The Christy Clark government seems to implicitly support the project with her [government's] silence," said NDP MLA and environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert , who also said B.C. should have its own separate review from the federal government's.

Canadian law profs’ statement on Tsleil-Waututh Nation rejection of Kinder Morgan pipeline

Feature

Gordon Christie et al. - May 28th 2015

Press Clipping: We write as professors of law at several Canadian law schools to recognize and commemorate the May 26, 2015 release of Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Assessment of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tanker Expansion Proposal. In the landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, Canada’s highest court affirmed that Aboriginal title encompasses a right to “proactively use and manage the land.” The Tsleil-Waututh Assessment is a pioneering example of a First Nation acting on this authority to review and decide whether a project should proceed in its territory.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation denies approval for the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline proposal

Feature

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions - May 26th 2015

Blog Post: Today, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the “People of the Inlet,” released the outcomes of its independent assessment of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project (TMEX), conducted as a matter of its own jurisdiction and law. On the basis of its assessment – which found that the TMEX proposal represents unacceptable risks and would violate Tsleil-Waututh law – Tsleil-Waututh announced that it has denied approval for the TMEX project to proceed in its territory.

Kinder Morgan underestimating environmental, health risks of pipeline expansion

Feature

Peter O’Neil and Kelly Sinoski | Vancouver Sun - May 26th 2015

Press Clipping: A small First Nation's environmental assessment of Kinder Morgan Canada's $5.4-billion oilsands pipeline expansion could "delay or derail" the megaproject, according to a legal analysis of the report. The scathing 90-page assessment, released Tuesday by the 570-member Tsleil-Waututh First Nation of North Vancouver, includes separate scientific research that says Kinder Morgan has underestimated the environmental and public health risks of major and minor oil spills in Burrard Inlet.

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

Feature

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."