This Kinder Morgan tank farm in Abbotsford leaked 110,000 liters of crude oil in January (Christina Toth/Times photo)

Kinder Morgan Plan to Twin Pipeline Triggers Community Concern in Wake of Sumas Mountain Oil Spill


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.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

6 thoughts on “Kinder Morgan Plan to Twin Pipeline Triggers Community Concern in Wake of Sumas Mountain Oil Spill

  1. Why is it that most of our politicians seem to think that the best thing for Canada is CHINA. By giving away all our resources we will never recover them back. China always has and will have slave labour conditions and wages.

  2. The twinning of the pipeline referred to by Vissers and Muxlow is I presume the one that goes through Kamloops. At present we are trying to fight a huge open pit low grade copper/gold mine. The existing pipeline wraps around part of the perimeter of the proposed open pit. One wonders about the vibration and excavation going 24/7 and its effect on the pipeline, not to mention the concerns over soil stability. When does the insanity end?

  3. I personally wonder sometimes why every asshole from Alberta thinks here simply for them to take advantage of(and walk all over) with absolutly no benefit to ALL of the people of this province .I’d say Mr Harper is in for a very expensive WAKE UP CALL

  4. Provinces are beginning to tell Harper to go to hell, especially Quebec.

    Herr Harper and the Campbell/Clark/Bossenkool BC Liberals/Conservatives/Reformers, or what ever the hell they are. Do they care about this beautiful province? Of course not, Harper and their disgusting greed comes first. The BC citizens and the F.N. are telling all of them, to go to hell too.

    We can see how Campbell’s stupidity in selling our rivers has done. As well as destroying important Salmon runs. Those hydro rivers are killing all the fish. Brain dead idiots, all of them.

    Harper and Campbell worked frantically, to completely dismantle BC, before, Campbell got the boot. Harper and Campbell totally destroyed BC financially.

    China owns BC, our raw logs and our mines. The imported workers Christy is planning to bring in, will be mostly Chinese. China refuses to pay Canadian wages, nor WBC. They refuse to comply with Canada’s work regulations.

    Harper is permitting China to buy out the tar sands. China is bringing their own people to work their tar sands vast projects too. Refining is done in China.

    China pays their people crap wages. Canada has been given away, to China.

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