Helping North Vancouver make up its mind about Kinder Morgan

As federal Ministers prepare to head west to beat the drum for tar sands pipelines, one local government took a more balanced approach. Last week, the District of North Vancouver held a public information session to allow local residents to hear both sides of the argument and make up their own minds about whether the risks of Kinder Morgan’s expansion plan outweigh its benefits.

Speaking at the North Van public meeting

I was invited to share GSA’s concerns as part of a panel that included representatives from Kinder Morgan, Port Metro Vancouver and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.  I talked about the disastrous environmental, community and economic impacts of an oil spill in North Van’s ocean backyard; the fact that, as we have been warned time and time again, we have nowhere near the physical, human or financial resources required to clean up a massive spill of conventional crude, let alone much riskier diluted bitumen; and that approval of the Kinder Morgan project would guarantee a ‘carbon spill’ with every tanker load of fuel that’s burned, and lock us into an unsustainable future that most British Columbians don’t want.
Much of the audience apparently shared our concerns, and Kinder Morgan was given a tough grilling during the Q&A. Some of the most pointed questions were about exactly what chemicals are contained in the ‘diluent’ that is mixed with bitumen to allow it to flow through the pipeline (the answer was unclear), and why Kinder Morgan’s research claims diluted bitumen would float for 10 days, while other studies suggest it would sink much sooner.
But the comment that stuck with me the most came from Reuben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. He said: don’t take my word for it, or Kinder Morgan’s – find out what’s going on for yourself. In that spirit, here’s a link to a full recording and news coverage of the evening.  
If you’re a North Vancouver resident and you have concerns about Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline, now is the time to speak up. Unlike most other municipalities in the Lower Mainland, which have expressed their opposition to the Kinder Morgan proposal, the District of North Vancouver has yet to take a position. Councillors are making up their minds right now, so please reach out to them and share your concerns.

If you don’t live in North Van, you can find out where your local government stands here. If yours isn’t on the list, why not ask them to hold a similar public meeting to help them – and community members – make up their minds about Kinder Morgan?

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