Today WaterWealth submitted our final argument as an intervenor in the National Energy Board hearing on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project proposal.
Our argument is brief. WaterWealth is the only participant in the hearing, so far as we know, to have raised the argument of removing the threat of the Trans Mountain Pipeline from the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer that our home community of Chilliwack relies on for water. To highlight that argument we chose not to argue other points in full as doing so would only be reiterating arguments made as well or better by other hearing participants.
[Update: the PIPE UP Network did include that construction should be predicated on, among other things, "Confirmation by independent expert report that the cost of rerouting the pipeline around the aquifer does not exceed 1/3 of the total cost of the average spill that can be expected to occur during the life of the project. This is to prioritize prevention over remediation"]
As you can read below, we called for the project application to be dismissed on several grounds. Failing dismissal of the application we called on the NEB to impose conditions that would remove the risk from Chilliwack's drinking water.
12 Jan 2016
National Energy Board
517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 0A8
Re: Hearing Order OH-001-2014 Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (Trans Mountain)
Board File OF-Fac-Oil-T260-2013-0302
Attached please find the Final Argument of the WaterWealth Project in the above- noted matter.
The WaterWealth Project Society
Hearing Order OH-001-2014
Board File: OF-Fac-Oil-T260-2013-0302
NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD
IN THE MATTER OF the National Energy Board Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-7, as amended, (“NEB Act”) and the Regulations made thereunder;
AND IN THE MATTER OF THE Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, S.C., c. 19, s. 52, as amended and the Regulations made thereunder;
AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC as General Partner of Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P. (collectively “Trans Mountain”) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“CPCN”) and other related approvals pursuant to Part III of the NEB Act.
FINAL ARGUMENT OF THE WATERWEALTH PROJECT SOCIETY
January 12, 2016
- The WaterWealth Project submits that the National Energy Board hearing panel (the “Panel”) should recommend that the proposed project is not in the public interest and that no certificate of public convenience and necessity should be granted.
- The Crown has failed to discharge its constitutional duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples with regard to this project, as evidenced by the submissions of many First Nations and Aboriginal organizations to the Panel throughout this hearing process. The WaterWealth Project supports those First Nations and Aboriginal organizations calling for dismissal of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project application on these grounds.
- Trans Mountain has failed to meet the five conditions set out by the Province of British Columbia. The WaterWealth Project supports the conclusion of the Province of British Columbia that the project cannot be provided certificate of public convenience and necessity for the reasons stated in the Province of BC Final Argument.
- The WaterWealth Project is based in the City of Chilliwack, British Columbia. As noted in the Letter of Comment from the City of Chilliwack, the City relies on the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer (also known as the Vedder River Fan Aquifer). The Trans Mountain pipeline route lies across this aquifer from approximately RF 1094 to approximately RK 1107.5. The WaterWealth Project agrees with the City of Chilliwack in that Trans Mountain’s application has failed to adequately explain how risks to the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer will be mitigated, and we share the concern of the City that “Once contaminated, it is unlikely that the aquifer could be remediated adequately to use for drinking water purposes again.” For the protection of our community’s water supply, and that of nearby private wells sharing the aquifer, the WaterWealth Project calls for the dismissal of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project application.
- In the alternative, should be Panel recommend approval of the project, the WaterWealth Project urges the Panel to impose as a certificate condition that the pipeline route not cross the Sardis-Vedder aquifer that is the source of water to the City of Chilliwack, or if it must cross that aquifer to do so no closer to City wells than the Trans Canada highway easement.
- Further, should be Panel recommend approval of the project, the WaterWealth Project urges the Panel to impose as a certificate condition that the existing Trans Mountain pipeline be decommissioned where it crosses the Sardis-Vedder aquifer and be moved to parallel the new pipeline on the route that avoids the aquifer, for the protection of the City water supply from the aging Trans Mountain pipeline that was constructed in the 1950’s.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the WaterWealth Project
The WaterWealth Project