An oil tanker loads at the Westridge Marine Terminal in north Burnaby.

First Nation to fight oil pipeline expansion

Band opposes Kinder Morgan plan that would bring more tankers

Kinder Morgan’s plan to more than double its ability to send crude oil by pipeline through the Lower Mainland to tankers on Burrard Inlet will be opposed by the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation.

The company aims to twin its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta, boosting its capacity from 300,000 barrels per year to up to 700,000 and increasing the number of oil tankers that sail past downtown Vancouver.

“The risks associated with the Kinder Morgan project are too great to accept,” Tsleil-Waututh Chief Justin George said.

The North Vancouver-based band’s traditional territory is centred on Burrard Inlet and takes in the Westridge Marine Terminal in north Burnaby at the end of the 1,150-kilometre pipeline from northern Alberta.

Up to 70 double-hulled oil tankers already load up at the terminal each year. They are harnessed to tugs and steered by local pilots through Burrard Inlet, under the Lions Gate and Ironworkers Memorial bridges.

George said the Tsleil-Waututh support economic development that balances the environment and economy.

But he said the band was “deeply affected” when a construction crew ruptured the Trans Mountain pipeline in 2007 and 1,500 barrels of oil spilled, soaking a north Burnaby neighbourhood and the nearby shoreline.

“Our inlet has been scarred by the impacts of oil spills and we have seen firsthand the inadequacies of emergency response and clean up efforts,” George said.

“We truly believe it’s not a matter of if but when there’s an oil spill.”

He ruled out any negotiated deal where the band might agree to support the twinning in exchange for benefits.

“We’re not interested in that – we’re interested in stopping it,” George said.

“We are disappointed,” Kinder Morgan external relations manager Lexa Hobenshield said of the Tsleil-Waututh position, adding the company will continue efforts to discuss its plans with the band.

Over the next three months Kinder Morgan is asking prospective customers to signal their interest in using extra pipeline capacity before the company decides whether it will proceed with the roughly $4-billion project.

If it has sufficient backing of customers, Hobenshield said, a comprehensive process of public and stakeholder consultation, environmental and other assessments would begin, leading up to an eventual decision by regulators.

An expanded Trans Mountain pipeline would offer Canadian oil companies much greater ability to export oil sands crude to Asia, reducing their dependence on the U.S. market.

That’s also the goal of the rival $6.6-billion Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by Enbridge to cross northern B.C.Map of Trans Mountain pipeliine in the Lower Mainland

Kinder Morgan argues its use of an existing corridor is not only less expensive but would mean less environmental impact than Enbridge’s new pipeline route.

Enbridge counters its completed line would be more efficient for shippers because its planned deepwater terminal at Kitimat would serve the largest supertankers that cannot enter Burrard Inlet.

Many environmental groups oppose both B.C. pipelines and some Metro Vancouver politicians have expressed concern about a Trans Mountain expansion.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities voted in September to seek a careful environmental assessment and extensive public consultation of any plan to ship more oil in B.C.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline doesn’t just carry oil. It also supplies 90 per cent of the gasoline used in the Lower Mainland.

Just 26 tankers have loaded at Westridge so far this year.

Hobenshield said demand is cyclical and more oil is being sent south into Washington State via a spur line at Sumas.

 

MAP: The Trans Mountain Pipeline passes through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. It follows the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Kamloops, up the Thompson River to Valemount and through Jasper to Edmonton.

 

 

Just Posted

Seabird Island opens 50th annual festival

The weekend festival will see First Nations teams compete in soccer, three-pitch and canoe races

Lofty plans for Chilliwack school district revealed

Chilliwack school district draws up plan to add 2,900 student seats in five years

Agassiz study to look at drone use for pesticide application

The study will be the first in Canada to use drones to apply pesticides to farm fields

Chilliwack’s pediatric observation unit gets financial shot from trades workers

Unions and contractors donate more than $30,000 to Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Delays en route for Highway 7 in Harrison Mills

Road resurfacing will cause month-long delays for drivers travelling through Harrison Mills

VIDEO: Powwow shares culture at Seabird Island Festival

The 50th anniversary of the festival saw its first powwow

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read