The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline
An old pipeline with a tainted past
The Kinder-Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline transports heavy oil and natural gas from Edmonton to the Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. The pipeline runs by numerous schools, crosses through neighbourhoods and parks, cuts underneath waterways in the Fraser Valley, and lies over the drinking water aquifer for the city of Chilliwack. Over the past 7 years, Kinder Morgan has had 5 pipeline ruptures in the Fraser Valley.
Photo: Kinder Morgan oil spill in Burnaby, 2007
A new proposal with a tar sands twist
Kinder Morgan has put forward a proposal to expand its operations from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day. Although Kinder Morgan calls its proposal an “expansion”, the plan involves building a new pipeline within path of the existing pipeline. The “twinned” pipeline would carry highly toxic diluted bitumen from the tar sands, which put our waters, ecosystems and health at an even greater risk.
Information, consultation or consent?
Kinder Morgan did not consult with any local communities, including First Nations, along the route prior to announcing the new pipeline. There is no comprehensive consultation process planned for communities along the pipeline, which would give citizens of the Valley the right to say “yes” or “no” to this proposal. Although the corporation did host “information sessions” these sessions simply involve the company telling people what they’re planning to do with no opportunity for community involvement in decision-making. Kinder Morgan has now applied to build the new pipeline with the National Energy Board, and the NEB has recommended that the federal government approve the project.
Decisions made by distance
The provincial government signed away B.C.’s right to make a decision on pipelines with the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement, which gave the Federal Government jurisdiction over pipeline decisions. The equivalency agreement was overturned by the B.C. Supreme Court, to which the provincial government responded with an Order In Council exempting various projects including the Kinder Morgan pipeline from the fallout of the B.C. Supreme Court decision. The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office continue to rely on NEB assessments instead of doing our own assessment here in B.C.
A primary concern for Chilliwack: Off the Aquifer!