Read this story form the Globe and Mail on BC’s coastal mayors and councilors preparing to fight Kinder Morgan’s plans to triple their bitumen pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to Vancouver. (April 14, 2012)
Local governments on B.C.’s west coast are girding for a fight with energy giant Kinder Morgan over its $5-billion pipeline expansion plans to move more Alberta oil to the Vancouver Harbour for transport overseas.
A phalanx of mayors is vowing to fight the project, including coastal communities far from the pipeline but exposed to increased oil tanker traffic.
“This is not a comfortable position for Kinder Morgan, they’ll be relying on the federal government to override local government,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan. “This may be the hill the Conservatives die on. The response from the public in British Columbia is, not only is this a potential danger to us, but there’s nothing in it for us.”
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson challenged B.C. Premier Christy Clark to take a stand on the plans, saying city residents – including her own Vancouver-Point Grey constituents – won’t support risking an oil spill.
“I will fiercely oppose the expansion of oil tankers in Vancouver’s harbour and the pipeline that feeds them,” he said in an interview. “The Premier should weigh in and I hope it is on the side of our local economies. It’s hard to imagine an oil spill on Kits Beach and Stanley Park – the impact it would have for generations.”
Ms. Clark did not return calls Friday. The Premier has balked at taking a position on a better-known pipeline proposal, the contentious Northern Gateway project.
That project is a key part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s goal to take Canadian resources to Asian markets, but the B.C. government has yet to come out for or against it despite its “Canada starts here” marketing strategy.
The Gateway project is currently the subject of a national review, but the southern pipeline project is further ahead because Kinder Morgan already has a right of way for its relatively small pipeline – called Trans Mountain – from Edmonton to the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.
On Thursday, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, a Houston energy and pipeline company, announced it has enough customers lined up to begin the official regulatory review process of its plan, which would put another pipeline on the route, nearly tripling the current capacity and bringing an oil tanker a day into Burrard Inlet.
On Friday, at a meeting of Metro Vancouver mayors, talks began on forming a united front, Mr. Corrigan said. “This is something that is going to gain momentum as the mayors put their resources together to respond.”
Mr. Corrigan predicted it will also put the BC Liberal government in a tough position as it struggles to keep federal Conservatives on side. “They are going to be expected by the Conservative government to welcome access for Alberta oil. Their relationship with the federal government is going to be severely tested,” he said.