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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Chilliwack Wells Missing

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This image is taken from a map in the City of Chilliwack's Groundwater Protection Plan. Well 1 and Well 2 are city drinking water wells. The pipeline marked "Gas Pipeline" is the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Published in 1997, the red, orange and blue lines on the map represent the projected areas those wells would draw water from as the city grew. In the 20 years since, we have certainly grown. New mapping of these zones is being done now. (Lines represent time of travel to wells.)

Recent filings by Kinder Morgan have particular relevance to drinking water in Chilliwack.

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route_variances

Bit of an update on the route change process (Kinder Morgan's changes)

Kinder Morgan asked the NEB to consider the PPBoR on route variances at the same time as the variances themselves. NEB refused because after they approve a variance it has to be approved by the Governor in Council and only then can PPBoR be considered.

So:
- people have till July 17 to comment on the variances - route & process;
- the board will consider the variances and if they approve them;
- they go to Governor in Council for approval;
- then there will be a detailed route process on the route segments the variances are in.

In June 26 letters to Kinder Morgan, which Kinder Morgan sent out to process participants July 4, for each variance the Board provides links to their information requests on the variances and KM's responses. They invite comment until July 17 on impacts and effects of the realignment, and process steps the Board should take in assessing the variance applications.

Excerpts:

"At this time, the Board invites all interested persons of the Chilliwack Realignment to provide written submissions to the Board in relation to the proposed Chilliwack Realignment. Such submissions may only include comments and concerns about the impacts and effects of the proposed Chilliwack Realignment, and/or additional process steps, if any, that the Board should establish as part of its assessment process for this application under section 21 of the NEB Act."

"Comments about the Board’s original recommendation on the TMEP will not be considered. Further, comments about the detailed route approval process will not be considered at this time. The Board will establish a process for the detailed route in future, and communicate publicly at a later date. For the purposes of this letter, comments must be specific to the Chilliwack Realignment."

Documents on the realignments can be found here.
https://apps.neb-one.gc.ca/REGDOCS/Item/View/3279648

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Reply to Strahl NEB Letter

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl weighed in on the NEB detailed route process for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Unfortunately Strahl's letter falls short of supporting efforts to reroute the pipelines and protect City of Chilliwack and Yarrow Waterworks wells.

MP Strahl's letter can be found here https://apps.neb-one.gc.ca/REGDOCS/Item/View/3297180

MP Strahl also emailed WaterWealth Program Director Ian Stephen to say that he had sent the letter to the NEB. Stephen's reply follows.

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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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