Chilliwack Realignment - Redux

Might we be forgiven for thinking on January 18 when the Chairperson declared the Chilliwack Realignment hearing adjourned, that all that was left was to wait for the NEB Panel's decision?

hydro_towers.jpgThere was still one NEB information request that Kinder Morgan were to respond to on February 2, but it was regarding electrical issues around the BC Hydro towers. The pipeline routes in play are the one the old pipeline is already on and another BC Hydro said is acceptable in a letter included with Kinder Morgan's realignment application. There wouldn't be anything too significant in that February 2 filing, right?

Wrong. (jump to March 8 update)

The 188 page "draft" report included a comparison of the three routes in the area of the Chilliwack realignment application. Those routes are;

  • P1, Trans Mountain's intended route between sets of 500 kV power lines but which BC Hydro would not allow;
  • P1A, the route along the south side of the BC Hydro corridor next to 230 kV power lines, which BC Hydro's letter said was acceptable, and;
  • P2, the 1953 pipeline route that Trans Mountain applied to reroute the expansion project to.

segment_6.3.jpg(Click for larger image)

The report's comparison looked at the risk of a sustained electric arc between the proposed pipeline and the BC Hydro power lines. On page 188 the comparison concluded that "the P1A route is not technically feasible" and that the "P2 route is the only option where the risk of arcing may be avoided without extreme mitigation measures."

In the realignment application that began all this, Kinder Morgan said they had worked with BC Hydro for over two years looking at possible routes for the pipeline within the BC Hydro corridor. From the March 27, 2017 reroute application to the filing of the February 2, 2018 draft report was another 312 days.

If we are to take Kinder Morgan at their word this means it took them three years, with help from BC Hydro, on a pipeline segment of less than two kilometres, to determine that routing in the BC Hydro right-of-way was not viable due to risk of arcing. It also means that the realignment hearing--notices, comments, public consultations, information requests and responses, written evidence, technical studies, oral hearings, legal costs--was largely a waste of everyone’s time and money. And it would have been an unnecessary delay of the detailed route hearings for segment 6, the only remaining major segment of the project for which detailed route hearings have yet to be announced.

However, we're not taking Kinder Morgan at their word. The conclusions of the report certainly can't be ignored. But neither can an unsigned draft from Kinder Morgan's contractor just be accepted without independent expert analysis. WaterWealth filed a motion with the NEB February 10 requesting that the Board make time and participant funding available sufficient for intervenors in the Hearing to make additional information requests of Kinder Morgan, to obtain independent expert assessment of the report and its conclusions, and to respond to the report on the record of the Hearing.

And for the moment we are once again, more or less, waiting for the NEB Panel's decision.

UPDATE: March 8 the NEB ruled on WaterWealth's motion. Surprisingly they ruled that the AC Mitigation report "is not part of the record of this hearing and has not been considered by the Panel overseeing this proceeding." Didn't see that coming, but OK. Frankly that's a relief because now we don't have to find someone to volunteer the sort of electrical engineering expertise it would take to properly evaluate that report.

And for the moment we are once again, more or less, waiting for the NEB Panel's decision. If they rule in Kinder Morgan's favour on the realignment application the next step will be detailed route hearings for segment 6. If they rule against Kinder Morgan then presumably the company will have to do another realignment application for the other route option in sub-segment 6.3, P1A.

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published this page in Blog 2018-03-09 11:41:51 -0800
commented 2018-02-11 18:23:09 -0800 · Flag
Once again, thank you for your devotion to the people, animals, birds, and businesses of Chilliwack who rely on clean water in order to maintain life here. And thank you for the great exposure of how KM and the NEB are responsible for making this process costly and drag on for so long!
commented 2018-02-11 17:41:32 -0800 · Flag
I am in awe of your dedication to protecting Chilliwack’s drinking water and your perseverance in wading through all the technicalities with which KM and “the system” and NEB keep flooding your path to success. Hard to believe that this latest glitch wasn’t foreseen by those with the technical information. Hope you get the time and funding needed to check out this new information.