Abbotsford, BC – Less than two months after a major oil spill at Kinder Morgan’s Sumas Mountain tank farm, the company announced plans to twin their existing trans mountain infrastructure. The most recent rupture of January 24th leaked approximately 110,000 liters of crude oil, raising major concern from local residents with regards to health and environmental effects.
Residents held a community meeting on February 12th including NEB representative Tim Sullivan, Kinder Morgan Vice President of Operations & Engineering Hugh Harden, and Kinder Morgan Communications Manager Lexa Hobensheild. Residents raised concerns over pollution, absence of effective on-site monitoring , and a lack of timely notification of accidents and spills. Kinder Morgan’s plans for expansion were met with apprehension and a request for a commitment from the company to meaningful public consultation and engagement.
“After the recent oil spill, there is intensified community concern about the risks associated with this industry. We had just confronted the company about the need to improve their existing operations, and yet without giving us any confirmation that improvements will happen they start taking about expansion,” exclaims John Vissers, concerned resident from Abbotsford. “The federal government has been championing British Columbia as an economic gateway to new markets, but with Kinder Morgan announcing plans to move forward without prior meaningful community consultation, it sets us up to be more of a doormat than a gateway.”
The Trans Mountain Pipeline has been owned and operated by Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. since 2005. This pipeline travels from Edmonton to Greater Vancouver and the Puget Sound. It currently transports up to 300,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude, resulting in more than 60 tankers within the Burrard Inlet. Plans to twin the pipeline would expand export capacity to up to 700,000 bpd. Local communities, First Nations and environmental organizations have criticized the plans for expansion for the increased risks to the environment, community health and violations of Indigenous rights and sovereignty.
“Over the past 7 years, Kinder Morgan has had 4 pipeline ruptures within the Fraser Valley, directly exposing local residents to toxic chemicals and polluting precious water and land systems. Twining this pipeline will inevitably increase the risks of leaks and spills that cause irreparable damage to communities and ecosystems,” comments Sheila Muxlow concerned Chilliwack resident. “Given existing criticisms of present day operations from local residents, First Nations and environmental groups, it is an insult to local people for Kinder Morgan to suggest expanding this risky business.”
John Vissers runs a business in Abbotsford that helps make buildings more energy efficient. He’s also a member 10 different environmental groups in his community.
Sheila Muxlow is a concerned resident of Chilliwack, BC, who spent the last 5 years in Edmonton, Alberta, working with directly impacted communities from the front lines of tar sands development.