We Can Still Protect Our Drinking Water From the Risks of an Oil Spill
In December 2016 the Federal Government of Canada approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline Project – but they did not approve the route. Kinder Morgan and the National Energy Board must now listen to residents along the pipeline route and ensure that the pipeline route does not put our drinking water at risk.
You can take these simple steps to engage in this process and protect what you and your community value.
This pipeline crosses aquifers in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Surrey, and Langley - the aquifers where we get our drinking water. In the past 20 years Kinder Morgan has had 19 leaks in the existing pipeline. If one of these happened over the aquifer our water could be contaminated indefinitely.
This is not about rejecting the pipeline. This is about protecting what is important to us. Kinder Morgan has other options. They can build the pipeline away from our drinking water but they will not do that unless we let them know that we are concerned.
Kinder Morgan has been initiating engagement processes in communities along the pipeline. You will have 30 days to submit your concerns (clock ticking for most people, see below). If Kinder Morgan and the NEB hear from enough people they will need to hold hearings and investigate our concerns.
And this is not just about water. If you have other concerns you can share those as well. For example, in Chilliwack the proposed route
crosses elementary school and middle school grounds;
runs through dense residential neighbourhoods;
crosses the city's protected groundwater zone very near city wells:
runs along one of four geologic faults flagged by Natural Resources Canada as being of particular concern;
crosses the river upstream of Yarrow Waterworks and the Great Blue Heron Reserve.
The National Energy Board's detailed route process is in progress now. If you have concerns about the location of the route, or methods or timing of construction, you can participate in this process to have your concerns heard and ask the NEB to take action. It is basically only two steps to do that:
- Send a statement of opposition to the National Energy Board & copy to Trans Mountain.
- Speak to people from the NEB about your concerns at a hearing.
Don't let the term "hearing" hold you back. It's not like you're going to court. You don't need any special qualifications (although if you happen to know of experts who can support your statement, so much the better. And you can ask for costs for experts to be paid in the process). The hearing will be in a community hall or other meeting place near you. The NEB staff at the hearing are just regular people doing their job, and their job there is to hear what you have to say.
There is a template in Microsoft Word (doc) format for statements of opposition available from the NEB here. The NEB prefer that you use the template. They also prefer that you use efile to submit your statement. You can efile here. Efile only lets you upload PDF so once you have filled in the template save it as a PDF. (If you prefer not to efile you can get information on paper-only filing from the NEB at 1-800-899-1265 or email TMX.ProcessHelp@neb-one.gc.ca.)
On the template you will see a line "Legal identification of the lands your Statement of Opposition pertains to:" We checked with the NEB and they said that as long as it is clear where your statement is about it is fine. So describe the location as best you can and/or you could include a map with your statement.
How Much Time Do I Have?
There are deadlines to submit your statement of opposition. They depend on what sort of notice you got of the detailed route, and where you are on the route.
Some Tips on Efile
(The NEB has a help file with images from the efile process here.)
On the efile page click the "Non-hearing" button to start. It looks like this -->
On efile step 2 the only required field is "Project Name:". There is a drop-down list to choose from. For the Trans Mountain project scroll to the bottom and select "Other".
(Yes that seems odd, but it is correct)
On step 3 for "Role" also select "Other" from the drop down list.
Step 5 is where you upload any electronic documents you are filing. For "Document Type:" select "Other" from the drop down list. If you have more than one, click the "Add" button for the second and subsequent documents. When done click "Next".
Step 6 you can add additional documents that are only available in paper copy, if you have any to submit. The system will create placeholders for them in the online document repository until they are received by mail. You will need to mail 5 copies of any documents that are paper-only. If you have no paper-only documents to file, just click "Next".
Step 7 identify anyone you would like courtesy copies of the receipt for your statement submission to be emailed to. If none, just click "Next".
At step 8 you click "Submit" to actually submit your statement of opposition. At any step of the process you can click "Previous" to go back. You can also click "Cancel" any step of the way, so feel free to go through the efile process if you just want to have a look at it before actually filing a statement.
After you submit your statement there will be a brief delay then the screen will automatically refresh and you will be shown your filing ID and instructions to send a paper copy within 3 days as well. Documents that are paper-only (the ones identified in step 6, if you had any) require 5 copies be sent. The efile system will email you a filing receipt. A signed copy of your filing receipt must be sent along with the paper copy of your statement.
The NEB’s mailing address is:
National Energy Board
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 0A8
Attention: Sheri Young,
Secretary of the Board
Remember you also have to send a copy of your statement to Trans Mountain. If you live right on the route you will receive a "section 34(1)(a)" notice from the company. If you are not right on the route watch your local newspaper for a full page "section 34(1)(b)" notice. Those notices will have the proper contact information for you to send a copy of your statement to Trans Mountain.
In Chilliwack the mailing address for copies of statements to go to Trans Mountain is;
12831 – 163 Street NW,
Edmonton, Alberta T5V 1M5
Attention: Elliot Friedrich,
Project Land Manager
We have not confirmed that address is the same for all areas, but it was also the address on the sample notice that was approved by the NEB so is likely the same for all segments of the route. You can call Trans Mountain to confirm at 1-866-454-4717
WaterWealth is always happy to help the best we can too, so feel free to get in touch if you have questions or would like assistance with submitting a statement or presenting at the hearing.
This is a major project with implications far into the future.
We owe it to ourselves and our communities to have our say!
(Trans Mountain route segments. Click for larger map)
Trans Mountain's Detailed Filings
If you want to look at Trans Mountain's detailed filings, their "Plan, Profile and Book of Reference", for segments of the route you can find them at the links below.