Letter to NEB re Kinder Morgan water crossings

Trans Mountain has filed a request for 26 watercourse crossings on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project to be evaluated for Fisheries Act authorizations for contingency crossing methods. The NEB requested additional information. Oddly, in their response Kinder Morgan seem to indicate many proposed watercourse crossing timings that have already begun, or even already passed.

In light of the pipeline not having been approved for construction yet, and the current situation of drought and wildfires in B.C., WaterWealth filed the following letter with the NEB requesting clarifications and for the NEB to evaluate these watercourse crossings based on current, not historical, conditions.


"Our Wealth is in Our Water – Let’s Protect It"


15 August 2018

National Energy Board
Suite 210, 517 – 10 th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0A8
Attention: Ms. Sheri Young

Dear Ms. Young:

Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (“Trans Mountain”)
Trans Mountain Expansion Project (“Project”)
Certificate OC-064
File OF-Fac-Oil-T260-2013-03 03
Information Request (IR) No. 1
Procedural Request for Condition 43: Watercourse Crossing Inventory

On July 17, 2018, the NEB issued Information Request No. 1 [A93032] regarding the filing of a procedural request by Trans Mountain under Condition 43 [A92908].

On August 8, 2018, Trans Mountain submitted their response [A93441] to the Board’s Information Request No. 1.

Trans Mountain’s response said that “This information is presented as the following attachments specifically for the 26 watercourse crossings for which Trans Mountain has requested review of contingency crossing methods. Together, these attachments provide the information requested by the Board for these 26 contingency watercourse crossings.”

Attachment 1 of Trans Mountain’s response was a “Watercourse Crossing Inventory for Crossings Not Meeting DFO Measures to Avoid Harm”, which included headings “Least Risk Biological Window Proposed”, “Project Proposed Construction Timing”, and “Can all of DFO's Measures to Avoid Harm be Implemented?”

Under the heading “Can all of DFO's Measures to Avoid Harm be Implemented?” for each watercourse was the response “No, an isolated crossing will be required outside the LRBW; a contingency open-cut may also be required outside the LRBW.” or “Yes, although a contingency open-cut crossing may be required inside the LRBW.”

Under the heading “Project Proposed Construction Timing” were a variety of timing windows with no year specified (twenty watercourse crossings), or with the year 2019 specified (six watercourse crossings: BC-110, BC-151, BC-168, BC-189, BC-201, and BC-275). This seems to imply 2018 as the year for the twenty watercourses for which no year was stated.

Of those for which no year was stated and for which the year 2018 might be implied:
- Eleven list a proposed construction timing that has already passed; BC-36, BC-38, BC-52, BC-65a, BC-76, BC-78, BC-85, BC-93, BC-180, BC-193b, and BC-631.
- Seven list a proposed construction timing that has begun but not yet ended; BC-636, BC-639, BC-645, BC-657, BC-662, BC-668, and BC-725.
- Two list a proposed construction timing in December; BC-56 and BC-112.

2017 was reported to be the worst wildfire year in B.C. history, with a provincial state of emergency from July 7 to September 15 that year. Today, August 15, 2018, the government of B.C. declared a province-wide state of emergency again, to deal with wildfires.

Wildfires are detrimental to fish populations in ways including destruction of riparian cover and resulting water temperature increase, pollutants and toxins introduced to water bodies, changes in precipitation run-off and sedimentation of streams, and changes in availability of food. Stresses as a result of wildfire compound existing stresses from climate induced high water temperatures and drought. Presently all of B.C. except the East Peace is in stage 2, 3 or 4 drought.

In light of these multiple and developing stresses on fish populations in B.C. the methods and timing of watercourse crossings for the Project cannot be evaluated based on historical data.

With the Procedural Request for Condition 43 Trans Mountain is taking steps toward constructing these crossings using contingency crossing methods. Without knowing the proposed construction timing, the justification for that timing, and the current state of each watercourse, it is impossible to evaluate whether construction by contingency methods, particularly in those cases proposing construction outside of the Least Risk Biological Window, should be allowed.

Safety and environmental protection are of paramount importance to British Columbians. The Board has stated many times that it shares those values. In the interest of environmental protection, The WaterWealth Project respectfully submits the following requests.

1. If the year for proposed construction timing is 2018 on those watercourses for which Trans Mountain did not specify a year in their response [A93441] to Information Request No. 1, would the Board please confirm whether construction at those watercourses has occurred or begun and whether construction was or is authorized by the Board at those locations and at those times?

2. If the year for proposed construction timing is not 2018 on those watercourses for which Trans Mountain did not specify a year in their response [A93441] to Information Request No. 1, would the Board please clarify when the proposed construction timings are and whether the Board will obtain data on the current state of those watercourses at each watercourse crossing location in light of recent and current drought and wildfire conditions?


Ian Stephen
Program Director,
The WaterWealth Project

Our Wealth is in Our Water, Let's Protect It!


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commented 2018-08-19 12:42:05 -0700 · Flag
Thanks Ian,
The more I learn about NEB proceedings with applicants like K.M., the less I trust them. The Federal gov’t regime-change seems to have had no effect on a still-captive industry regulator. The best evidence for that, is found in the glib incomplete and presumptive manner in which the proponent attempts to proceed, in the midst of very extenuating circumstances. They seem to expect that the NEB will let whatever they choose to do, slide. (Witness the anti-spawning mats, illegal and yet still in place.)