What's sauce for the goose....

What if we all played by the rules multi-billion dollar international industry players envision for themselves?

In August and September this year Kinder Morgan began covering spawning grounds that their proposed pipeline route intersects with plastic snow fence in an effort to prevent spawning where the company later want to dewater streams and trench across.

spawning deterrent photo courtesy of Dogwood
Plastic snow fence in Swift Creek.
Click for larger image.

Snow fence is unproven as a spawning deterrent, but the company expects that by covering spawning gravel with plastic fence they will later be allowed to dry and trench those stream locations during parts of the year when eggs and larvae of salmon and trout could be expected to be in the gravel.

A quick look at the definitions of "construction" in either the NEB certificate or the B.C. environmental certificate for the pipeline project is all it takes to see that Kinder Morgan were out of line in terms of process, never mind ecological values. Pre-construction conditions have not been fulfilled and the route of the pipeline has not been approved. What's more, the company did not apply for authorizations for instream work under the B.C. Water Sustainability Act or hold a permit for it under the Oil and Gas Activities Act. The NEB ordered Kinder Morgan to stop the installations, but they allowed the company to keep the ones already done. The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (B.C. EAO) is investigating. In documents on the B.C. EAO website is a letter in which the company claims that no authorizations from any level of government are needed for turning spawning beds to non-spawning areas with plastic fence.

Some of WaterWealth's work is done in streams. Of course when there may be eggs or larvae in the gravel we keep our feet out. In an email yesterday to Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (responsible for administration of the Water Sustainability Act) and CCed to the B.C. EAO, WaterWealth imagines "What if we could work in streams any time we want, like Kinder Morgan expect to?"

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WaterWealth Halloween Update

zombie-silhouette.jpgHalloween!

And the big scary zombie is still the Kinder Morgan pipeline, though recently with some provincial scope to our involvement that connects the pipeline to the Water Sustainability Act. So while Kinder Morgan's tricks continue to dominate our time at WaterWealth, at least there's a treat of WSA work in the bag!

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Kinder Morgan Realignment IR#1

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Kinder Morgan has applied for a small route change in Chilliwack to their Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The route change, if approved, would move the pipeline out of a BC Hydro right-of-way to instead cross Watson Elementary School and run through back yards of residential neighbourhoods. The change would also move the pipeline closer to City of Chilliwack drinking water wells.

WaterWealth is an intervenor in the NEB hearing for the route change. We oppose the route change, primarily for the added risk to children attending Watson Elementary School and to our community's drinking water supply.

What follows is our Information Request #1 to Trans Mountain on the proposed route change. (Formatted to appear similar to the original document)

[Update: The City did a very thorough information request. It is not available on the NEB website yet, but a pdf copy is here. One note, there is mention in it of "two pipeline leaks in 2013 in the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer area." That is in error. The 2013 leaks were near the Coquihalla Summit (one at the summit and one about 40 km east). An easy error to make as the document referred to in that part of the City's IR is largely about the aquifer and the context of the mention of the two spills is not immediately apparent if one does not know what "Kingsvale North and KP966" refer to.]

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Anti-Spawning Affront Post 3

So this happened: "Hiccup clears for Canada's TransMountain pipeline. Regulator declares a challenge moot after pipeline planners pulled a request for relief."
(United Press International, Home/Energy News)

However Trans Mountain's withdrawal of their request for relief from NEB Act section 31 does nothing to allay concerns about the impact of their unproven and unauthorized use of snow fence as an anti-spawning measure for already at risk trout and salmon populations. On the contrary, this move by the NEB heightens concerns that harm to fish eggs and young may occur.

What follows is WaterWealth's letter in response to the NEB. (Formatted as the original document)

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Anti-Spawning Affront Post 2

Having been caught doing construction on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project prior to fulfilling pre-construction conditions and achieving NEB approval of the detailed route of the project, Kinder Morgan first requested permission to continue and then withdrew that request. The construction work involved placing snow fence into streams to prevent trout and salmon from spawning where Kinder Morgan plan to install the new pipeline. Kinder Morgan's withdrawal of the request to continue installing anti-spawning measures came with a claim that to remove the ones already installed would risk serious harm to fish.

What follows is WaterWealth's response to Kinder Morgan's withdrawal of their request for relief.
(Formatted as the original document)

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Kinder Morgan's Anti-Spawning Affront

Kinder Morgan was caught doing construction on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project prior to fulfilling pre-construction conditions and achieving NEB approval of the detailed route of the project. This violates both the NEB Certificate and the BC Environmental Assessment Certificate for the project. The construction work involved placing snow fence into streams to prevent trout and salmon from spawning where Kinder Morgan plan to install the new pipeline. Fish populations affected include a red-listed Chinook run. After the work was brought to the attention of the NEB by a private citizen, the NEB ordered the work to stop. Kinder Morgan responded by applying for "relief" from section 31 of the National Energy Board Act so as to be allowed to continue installing these unproven spawning deterrents in streams along the proposed pipeline route.

What follows is WaterWealth's response to Kinder Morgan's request for relief.
(Formatted as the original document)

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Kinder Morgan's 3-Ring Circus

If you're feeling confused about the pipeline processes in Chilliwack don't worry,
so is everyone else!

Think of it as a 3-ring circus...

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An Ounce of Prevention

Donate-to-Redcross-to-help-with-the-Fort-McMurray-wildfires.jpgCanadians are generous in disaster response. Domestically an outstanding example is the $189-million in private donations to the Canadian Red Cross for Fort McMurray wildfire relief. Along with $104-million from the federal government and $30-million from the Alberta government, Fort McMurray wildfire relief was the largest response to a disaster in Canadian history. It is interesting to note that the greatest contribution came from private sources rather than from government.

Of course the first principle of risk control is to eliminate the risk if possible. What if we could support disaster prevention instead of disaster response?

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Pipeline vs Drinking Water - Update

What follows is an update after Kinder Morgan’s response to the most recent communications from the City of Chilliwack, WaterWealth and Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl regarding the route of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Before diving into those details however, it is important to note that almost nowhere in these discussions is there anything that would improve the safety of Yarrow Waterworks wells, even though Yarrow's drinking water wells were listed in Kinder Morgan’s inventory of drinking water sources at risk from the project while Chilliwack's wells were not.

yarrow_wells_pipeline_fault.jpgThe only potential pipeline route that would remove the risk from Yarrow’s wells is the route proposed by WaterWealth, to follow the Trans Canada Highway. The recent communications are about a minor route deviation from Watson Elementary School to just past Deerfield Crescent where the company has actually applied to move the new pipeline closer to City wells. Neither route choice in that area would make any difference to Yarrow’s wells. To truly protect City wells and to protect Yarrow wells we need the City to insist on the route change to alongside Highway 1, the only route that would move the pipelines off of the aquifer and away from all of our community drinking water wells. You can contact the Mayor and Councilors with one message at http://bit.ly/yarrowwater. (The problem with the city's contact form is fixed.)

With that in mind, here is the current state of the project in Chilliwack as of July 31, 2017.

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The Route of the Problem

To protect the source of our drinking water, many in Chilliwack have been working to have the Trans Mountain pipelines moved to a new route away from City wells and off of the aquifer. Meanwhile, pipeline owner Kinder Morgan has also been seeking route changes. They have applied to the NEB for seven route changes including one in Chilliwack that would move the new pipeline closer to City wells. In Chilliwack the three routes in play are as follows.

The BC Hydro right-of-way.
(Click the map for a larger view in a new window.)

On this map the Vedder River Fan Aquifer that is the source of Chilliwack's drinking water is shaded blue. (Also known as the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer.) The pipeline route is shown in red. The BC Hydro right-of-way option is shown in purple, going from Watson Elementary School west about 1.8 km and south to near the end of Deerfield Crescent. This was the route Kinder Morgan planned to use but they say they could not resolve technical difficulties with BC Hydro. Running a steel pipe parallel to 230 kV and 500 kV powerlines has its challenges.

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