Pipeline opposition grows in the Fraser Valley

Pipe Up Network formed to organize opposition to twinning Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline.

Tar sands in an aging pipeline is a major concern of a new citizens’ group opposed to the proposed twinning of an oil pipeline that runs through the Fraser Valley and over the Chilliwack aquifer.

The Pipe Up Network is an off-shoot of a loose organization of concerned residents that began meeting in Chilliwack last March.

The “surprising news” that the pipeline owned by Kinder Morgan also carries Alberta tar sands in the form of diluted bitumen led to the creation of the Pipe Up Network at a meeting held in Abbotsford in April.

Lynn Perrin, a public policy analyst in Abbotsford, is very concerned about the potential health risks associated with diluted bitumen.

“I cannot understand why Kinder Morgan would think they can start transporting diluted bitumen without any public consultation,” she said.

The Trans Mountain pipeline has been carrying crude oil from Alberta to Vancouver since 1953, but Perrin said the company started loading bitumen onto tankers in Burrard Inlet in February, 2012.

Wendy Major, a retired school teacher in Chilliwack, said a bitumen spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2010 “caused health problems for the people and devastated local business.”

The pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy Partners reportedly spilled an estimated 843,000 gallons of diluted bitumen into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. The cleanup and health impacts raised questions about B.C.’s ability to respond to a similar disaster.

Kinder Morgan wants to build a second pipeline here to increase daily capacity to 750,000 barrels from the current 300,000 barrels.

Opposition organizer Sheila Muxlow said if a spill occurs, the bitumen would sink to the bottom of the aquifer, unlike conventional oil which would float on top of the water.

“If there was a crack in that pipeline near the aquifer, there’s no doubt that product will sink right into the aquifer,” she said.

The bitumen, diluted with “volatile substances” so it can flow through the pipeline, is also “significantly more corrosive” than conventional oil, she said, increasing the risk of a rupture.

Michael Hale, a Pipe Up member in Chilliwack, said there’s growing concern about the proposed twinning project.

“What is alarming a lot of people is this very old pipeline … goes over our aquifer, over our rivers and near our schools all the way down the Fraser Valley,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who are concerned from up and down the valley, from Hope all the way to Vancouver.”

Pipe Up is holding an information meeting June 12 at the Sardis Secondary School in Chilliwack. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the McAstocker Theatre.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Council talks trash: New garbage bylaw in the works

Draft bylaw to be voted on at Monday, May 25 council meeting

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

‘Service beyond the classroom’: Gerry Palmer wins UFV award

Palmer has been involved with UFV for more than 30 years, starting as an instructor

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

RCMP confirm man dead in Chilliwack shooting incident

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read