Chilliwack & Kinder Morgan Dispute Resolution

route_options.jpgThere has been tension between the City of Chilliwack and Kinder Morgan over Kinder Morgan's plans to add a second Trans Mountain pipeline across the aquifer that supplies the city's drinking water, as well as other areas of great value to the community. At a June 6, 2017 Council meeting Mayor and Council decided to participate in the NEB's Appropriate Dispute Resolution process with the company. The Chilliwack Progress covered the meeting in both the print edition (page 3) and online highlighting some of the contentious issues of the project.

Kinder Morgan has thus far given no indication that they are willing to offer anything that will truly protect the water supply this city depends on, or the schools, residential areas, wetlands, and other assets put at risk by the proposed route of the pipeline.

In the council meeting Councilor Waddington said "with the community backing, it gives us a louder voice, to be heard by Kinder Morgan and the NEB." WaterWealth wrote to the City today to encourage Mayor and Council to seek the only solution that can guarantee the safety of city drinking water; change the route to move both new and old pipelines off of the aquifer. That letter follows.

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Letter to Minister James Carr on Kinder Morgan

The following letter was sent to Minister of Natural Resources James Carr

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"Our Wealth is in Our Water – Let’s Protect It"

30 May, 2017

Honourable James Carr, Minister of Natural Resources
House of Commons, Ottawa

On November 28, 2016 I wrote yourself and other federal officials regarding the route of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and the risks it poses to Chilliwack.

On May 18, 2017 I received your response in which you pointed out that the NEB is “assessing the exact location of the pipeline within the project corridor through its detailed route process,”. Had that process proceeded normally that information would have come 11 days after the May 7 deadline for participation in that process in Chilliwack. Fortunately there were problems with the publication of notices and placement of documents by Trans Mountain and in response to motions filed by The WaterWealth Project and the Township of Langley the company has proposed to republish notices along the entire proposed route. Pending a ruling by the NEB on the company’s proposal this will extend the time for statements of opposition to the proposed route to sometime in July.

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Letter to MP Mark Strahl on Kinder Morgan

The following letter was sent to Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

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"Our Wealth is in Our Water – Let’s Protect It"

30 May, 2017

Mr Mark Strahl, MP for Chilliwack Hope
House of Commons, Ottawa

On November 28, 2016 I wrote yourself and other federal officials regarding the route of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and the risks it poses to Chilliwack. You passed my concerns on to Minister of Natural Resources James Carr.

On May 18, 2017 I received Minister Carr’s response. Minister Carr pointed out that the NEB is “assessing the exact location of the pipeline within the project corridor through its detailed route process,”. Had that process proceeded normally the Minister’s response would have come 11 days after the May 7 deadline for participation in that process in Chilliwack. Fortunately there were problems with the publication of notices and placement of documents by Trans Mountain and in response to motions filed by The WaterWealth Project and the Township of Langley the company has proposed to republish notices along the entire proposed route. Pending a ruling by the NEB on the company’s proposal this will extend the time for statements of opposition to the proposed route to sometime in July.

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Letter to BC on Kinder Morgan

Honourable Christy Clark, Premier, premier@gov.bc.ca
Honourable Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier & Minister of Natural Gas Development & Minister Responsible for Housing, rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca
Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Environment, mary.polak.mla@leg.bc.ca
Laurie Throness, MLA Chilliwack-Hope, laurie.throness.mla@leg.bc.ca
John Martin, MLA Chilliwack, john.martin.mla@leg.bc.ca

I am writing on behalf of the WaterWealth Project regarding the imminent Province of BC decision on Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. WaterWealth does not support building new oil pipelines generally, such multi-generation infrastructure being contrary to our responsibilities to our children and future generations.

However regarding the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in particular we would bring your attention to a local concern in our home city of Chilliwack that remains unaddressed throughout the project approval processes to date, and which we believe makes it impossible for the project to meet the minimum conditions set out by your government to consider approval of heavy oil pipeline projects.

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Letter to NEB re Maintenance Concerns on Trans Mountain Old Line

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1 Dec 2016

Danielle Prevost,
Engagement Specialist
National Energy Board

Ms Prevost

I am writing for the WaterWealth Project. WaterWealth is a community group working for protection of freshwater in BC and was an intervenor in the recent hearing on the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Information acquired during that process very much heightened our concern about the ageing Trans Mountain pipeline that is in operation now.

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Federal Letter re Pipeline & Aquifer

(The letter below also sent separately to Prime Minister Trudeau. James Carr as Minister of Natural Resources. and local MP Mark Strahl. Interestingly, no acknowledgement or reply was received from the Prime Minister or Environment Minister until a comment referring to the letter was made on an opinion piece on the pipeline by Federal Liberal MPs several weeks later. An acknowledgement from the Prime Minister's Office was received hours after that comment was posted. Coincidence?

Regrettably, that acknowledgement, like the reply from MP Strahl, merely said that the matter was being referred to the Minister of Natural Resources. No response has been received from the Minister of Natural Resources or any member of the Cabinet Climate and Energy Committee.

The letters were sent 28 November, 2016 and later posted here to add to the record on our blog of events related to the project and the aquifer.)

Climate and Energy Committee

Honourable Melanie Joly, Chair
Honourable Kristy Duncan, Vice Chair

Committee Members,
Honourable James Carr,
Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Honourable Catherine McKenna
Honourable Amarjeet Sohi

Re: The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project and City of Chilliwack water source

You may not be aware that the pipeline runs right across the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer that is the sole water supply for the rapidly growing city of Chilliwack, BC, my home and the home of the WaterWealth Project which I represent.

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Needed Repairs Left Waiting?

Has Kinder Morgan been delaying needed pipeline repairs over the Sardis Vedder Aquifer for a year or more?

And has the National Energy Board let them?

On 16 March 2012 the National Energy Board (NEB) issued a letter directing Kinder Morgan Canada to complete baseline assessments of the Trans Mountain pipeline for cracking features that may lead to leaks. Over a year later, in June 2013, two spills were discovered by crews on the ground near the Coquihalla Summit and about 40 km east. Those spills had been missed by inline inspection tools.

p8240152sm.jpgA group of Chilliwack residents went to see the spill sites. The expectation was two spill sites, two excavations for repairs. In fact many excavations were found and extensive repairs to the ageing pipeline were apparent. A large pile of oil-contaminated soil was seen, part of hundreds of dump truck loads of contaminated soil that were removed from the Coquihalla Canyon that summer.

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Pipeline Risks

chilliwackmapedit3-page-001_8.25_300w.jpgA comment we often hear in our work regarding Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project is that the old pipeline has operated safely for many years. The implication being that allowing a second pipeline to be built over the aquifer that supplies Chilliwack and Yarrow with water would also be safe.

Here are some facts to consider in deciding:

Are the Pipelines Really A Risk?

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Hope for Hope Slough

hopeslough_500w.jpgLocal Chilliwack residents cherish Hope Slough. Walkers, joggers, and cyclists can be found enjoying the roads, paths and parks along the slough any day of the week. Leisurely paddles are taken by canoe or kayak. Somehow "progress" seems to have relegated swimming in Hope Slough to the memories of only older residents, but fishing is popular for old and young alike. It doesn't take much luck to spot otters, mink or beaver along the slough, while herons and kingfishers are a daily sight. A viewing platform overlooks spawning salmon in season.

Sunday morning July 24 people out to enjoy the slough were shocked to get a little too close a view of the variety of fish species found in this much loved place.

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Protect Chilliwack/Yarrow drinking Water

If you could take a few minutes and remove a major threat from Chilliwack and Yarrow’s water supplies, would you? We have such an opportunity now. At the bottom of this blog post we'll tell you how, but first some background info.

The National Energy Board (NEB) has recommended that the federal government approve Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that will triple the volume of the Trans Mountain system by adding a second, larger pipe to the system. While generally the new pipe would lie next to the old one, in its report the NEB stated “The Board is of the view that the opportunity exists for detailed route alignments that may further minimize impacts to those directly affected.

chilliwackmapedit3_300_quote.jpgOne of those detailed route alignments must be to remove this pipeline from the water source we in Chilliwack and Yarrow use every day! The existing pipe lies over, and at its average depth of five feet even in, the Sardis/Vedder Aquifer (also known as the Vedder River Fan Aquifer) that residents of Chilliwack and Yarrow rely on for our tap water. Even Kinder Morgan described the aquifer in the NEB hearings as "high demand, productivity and vulnerability" (p 4-15). Kinder Morgan also admitted that "City of Chilliwack community wells are located within this aquifer and the mapped well capture zones cross the proposed pipeline corridor" (p 4-35).

Regarding the risk of pipeline spill the City of Chilliwack stated in their letter of comment to the NEB Once contaminated, it is unlikely that the aquifer could be remediated adequately to use for drinking water purposes again.”

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