Newsletter – January 2014
The building of the Northern Gateway Pipeline and the expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline will require the greatest evaluation with regards to the balance between the environment and the economy of any project ever to be built in British Columbia. Even King Solomon would be challenged on this one. We cannot afford any knee-jerk decision making on this one. We must be even more careful now that federal and provincial environment review processes are being merged into one in the name of expediency.
There are two distinct issues here: –
1. The economy. This side will be very well represented by the oil companies and the federal and provincial governments. There is a tremendous amount of potential money here for those parties and they will do everything they can to get their share. Profit is not a dirty word, it is the fuel (sic) that drives our economy and provides the goods and services we depend on. But not at any price.
2. The environment. This side will not be in the same league as the proponents with regards to money and the presentations (propaganda) they will make to the assessment review board and to the country. We will be dependent upon First Nations, municipal governments, NGO’s and individual federal and provincial politicians to present the potential natural disasters that could result from these projects.
One such provincial politician is Andrew Weaver MLA, who as a scientist has spent his life studying environmental issues and has been recognised by his peers as a leader in this field. This following article was submitted to us by Andrew and he has agreed to become a regular Island Voice for Seniors 101.
Intervener Status for the Proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
While many people have expressed concern over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has not garnered the same level of attention. However, if approved, the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which would transport diluted bitumen (DilBit) from a terminal near Edmonton, Alberta to a facility in Burnaby, BC, would nearly triple the existing capacity of DilBit from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day. That is almost double the capacity of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which would transport 525,000 barrels per day.
Once the DilBit arrives in BC, it will then be exported overseas. This will dramatically increase tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet, the Salish Sea, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A pipeline rupture or tanker incident would have a profound effect on our pristine and economically significant coastal waters. It is for this reason that I will be seeking intervener status in the upcoming National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the proposed Kinder Morgan expansion.
Gaining intervener status means that I would be granted the right to participate in the NEB hearings. This would give me the opportunity to question those giving submissions and to provide evidence of the risks associated with the proposed pipeline. I will be submitting two separate applications for my request for intervener status.
In the first application I will apply as an expert. I will use my extensive background as a scientist, and specifically my experience and early work in physical oceanography, to argue that I am well positioned to comment on, and provide recommendations for, a number of the issues concerning the transport of DilBit through our coastal waters.
In the second application I will apply as a representative. For this I will argue that as the MLA of the Oak Bay-Gordon Head (OBGH) riding on Vancouver Island, I represent a constituency that would be directly affected by an oil spill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
As the due date for these applications approaches, a number of other city councils and organizations will also be requesting intervener status on this highly controversial proposal. With the NEB hearings likely beginning sometime in the next few of months, I encourage you to learn more about the process and the potential benefits and costs of increasing DilBit tanker traffic along our coastline.
To view the official media release regarding my application for intervener status, please click here.