GSA responds to Province’s announcement on Kinder Morgan

Province confirms that Kinder Morgan’s pipeline project has not met five conditions

The Province of BC cannot support Kinder Morgan’s application for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion based on the evidence the company has filed to date with the National Energy Board (NEB), the Ministry of Environment said this morning.

“During the course of the NEB review, the company [Kinder Morgan] has not provided enough information around its proposed spill prevention and response for the Province to determine if it would use a world leading spills regime. Because of this, the Province is unable to support the project at this time, based on the evidence submitted,” the Ministry of Environment said in a statement.

Georgia Strait Alliance responds

“The Province has rejected this pipeline because it doesn’t ensure our local oceans are protected from oil spills,” says Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director of Georgia Strait Alliance. “We know that bitumen sinks and it’s virtually impossible to clean up, which makes prevention the only safe approach. Georgia Strait Alliance commends the Province’s position, which mirrors opposition from the City of Vancouver, the City of Burnaby, Tseil Waututh First Nations, and the public.”

Protecting coastal communities from the impacts of marine oils spills is a key concern for Georgia Strait Alliance. The non-profit conservation group works with coastal communities and local governments to improve oil spill emergency planning and response at the community level.

Planning and response to marine oil spills is led by federal government agencies and industry-funded response companies. Unfortunately, these senior partners routinely fail to include local communities or First Nations in spill prevention and response planning, even though the effects of a spill are felt most acutely at the local level. Civic leaders at last year’s Union of BC Municipalities convention recognized this and voted unanimously to advance a priority safety resolution pertaining to strengthening and better funding oil spill planning and response.

“Coastal communities have the most to lose from a marine oil spill. The local levels of government are the most accountable to their residents, and it’s the local communities that bear the consequences when oil washes ashore, with marine life, our economy and coastal communities potentially affected for decades. The Province has acknowledged this in today’s submission to the NEB,” Wilhelmson says.

The five provincial requirements

The Province of BC’s five requirements in order for British Columbia to consider the construction and operation of heavy-oil pipelines in the province are:

  1. Successful completion of the environmental review process. For the Trans Mountain Expansion project, that would mean a recommendation by the National Energy Board Review Panel that the project proceed;
  2. World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines and shipments;
  3. World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines;
  4. Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project; and
  5. British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy-oil project that reflect the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.

Environment Minister Mary Polak told the Vancouver Sun that Kinder Morgan has not met any of the five conditions at this stage. The provincial government says it will continue to evaluate the project based on Kinder Morgan’s ability to meet the five requirements.

For more information:
Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director
604 862 7579

Phare Ouest (Radio Canada) | January 12:
Victoria laisse une porte ouverte à Trans Mountain, s’inquiète la Georgia Strait Alliance