An oil tanker in Burrard Inlet approaches Kinder Morgan's Westridge Marine Terminal in north Burnaby.

Intervenors pepper pipeline firm with questions

Burnaby asks Kinder Morgan about alternate sites for oil terminal, Weaver targets dilbit spill risks

The provincial government has filed 70 questions for Kinder Morgan about its proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline twinning and that request for information is slender compared to others.

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver has lodged his own submission that poses nearly 500 questions to the company.

The City of Burnaby, another intervenor demanding answers as part of the National Energy Board review, has filed a 300-page request containing 1,500 questions.

Topping Burnaby’s list is a demand to know what alternative terminal sites Kinder Morgan could use instead of greatly expanding the petroleum tank farm at the Westridge Marine Terminal on Burrard Inlet.

Asked if that means pushing for a different terminal in Surrey or Delta, with tankers instead entering the Fraser River, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan pointed to the U.S., noting Kinder Morgan already has a spur pipeline running to refineries in Washington State.

“We want to know if they considered places like Cherry Point that are already well-equipped to move oil,” Corrigan said.

He said that site just across the U.S. border would shorten the amount of pipeline required and eliminate project impacts in Metro Vancouver.

“I know there is already a holding tank farm in Sumas. That type of location is far easier to accommodate expansion than the top of Burnaby Mountain.”

As for whether Burnaby’s list of questions is excessive, Corrigan noted Kinder Morgan’s project application is 15,000 pages long.

“One question for every 10 pages is probably reasonable.”

The province’s questions target land and marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems.

“We are asking the company to provide more detail than is contained in their application so that we can continue our analysis of the extent to which they will deliver the world-class systems that we require,” Environment Minister Mary Polak said.

She promised a “very thorough” defence of B.C. interests and its five conditions for new heavy oil pipelines. Those conditions include “world-leading” spill safeguards as well as resolution of aboriginal issues and a “fair share” share of economic benefits for the province.

Unlike the NEB’s marathon hearings into Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline across northern B.C. to Kitimat, the revised federal process no longer allows oral cross-examination of witnesses.

Polak said the province had to shift its strategy to using detailed information requests as  result.

The $5.4-billion project would nearly triple Kinder Morgan’s pipeline capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day and greatly increase the number of tankers passing through Vancouver harbour.

Weaver, the Green MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, said he has many unanswered questions on the science Kinder Morgan has relied on in the event a tanker ruptures and releases diluted bitumen.

He said the project application relied on tank experiments done on land in Alberta that didn’t reflect real ocean conditions, and ignored new federal findings that dilbit may sink when exposed to water carrying suspended silt – conditions common on the B.C. coast.

“The bottom line is they simply have no idea what would happen if dilbit were to spill in the ocean,” Weaver said. “Not at all. It’s just wild speculation.”

He said B.C. Greens are pushing for a sixth provincial condition that rules out tanker transport of dilbit.

A pledge of world-class spill response for dilbit is meaningless, Weaver said, because the situation is unique to B.C.

Kinder Morgan is to file responses by June 13.

Just Posted

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Hatzic man charged with assaulting Chilliwack RCMP officers

Jason Roberto Vatcher was out on bail facing firearms charges

Mattress Recycling lays down roots in Hope

The recycling firm—the largest of its kind in western Canada—has opened a facility in Hope

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Dog shot in foot with BB gun during cellphone sale at SkyTrain station

William Ayers, 28, is facing a number of charges after incident in Burnaby

Man, two children sent to hospital after Vancouver carbon monoxide leak

Nine people were evacuated from the home in south Vancouver

Most Read