Kinder Morgan is conducting a thorough security review of the Westridge Marine Terminal after the facility was seized by Greenpeace activists Wednesday.
Spokesman Andrew Galarnyk said the review will determine how 16 Greenpeace activists managed to get inside the site and chain themselves to the terminal’s equipment and front gate.
“We are assessing the incident and the security measures that are in place,” said Galarnyk. “We’re conducting a thorough investigation of the entire incident.”
Galarnyk refused to speculate on how the Greenpeace activists managed to access to the terminal, saying “it’s too early to tell.”
The Greenpeace protesters remained on the site for about 12 hours, from dawn to dusk Wednesday. In addition to chaining themselves to the terminal’s front gate and its pumping mechanisms, they dangled from ropes to unfurl banners and paint the storage tanks.
Greenpeace B.C. director Stephanie Goodwin said the activists agreed to leave voluntarily after discussions with the RCMP. They were escorted off the site, questioned and released. No charges have been laid to this point and Goodwin is hopeful none will be.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Peter Thiessen said the investigation is ongoing, and it’s too early to say whether any charges will be laid.
The protesters may face legal action from Kinder Morgan. Galarnyk said the company is weighing its legal options. But he added that safety was the prime concern during the incident.
“Certainly, we were concerned about the safety of the protesters, the safety of our staff and the community,” he said. “We’re happy it ended peacefully.”
Galarnyk said Kinder Morgan is conducting a thorough survey of the site to ensure there is no damage. He said there appears to be none.
The Greenpeace action was timed to coincide with Wednesday’s speech from the throne in Ottawa. In the speech, which opened a new session of Parliament, the federal government renewed its vow to expand pipelines from Alberta to the Pacific through B.C. to get tar sands oil to Asian markets.
Greenpeace spokesman Peter Louwe said Greenpeace deliberately planned the date so it did not coincide with a tanker loading at the terminal.
“We deliberately went in when there wasn’t a loading tanker because that might have been dangerous,” said Louwe. “The purpose was to make a point, and send a message to the prime minister and premier that we have to move away from dirty oil, and we accomplished that.”
Keith Stewart was one of two activists who chained themselves to the terminal’s front gate. He said he and his partner had no trouble accomplishing their part of the action.
“I can’t speak for those inside, but no one challenged us,” he said.
Tsleil-Waututh elder Amy George was at the terminal’s front gate to support the protesters. Although not chained to the gate, she sat beside them, telling reporters she will do all she can to stop the pipeline expansion project.
“I think it’s wonderful, and I want to thank Greenpeace,” said George, 72.
“I’m here to stand up for my people and for all the people in the Vancouver area.”
The facility is the terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline that carries bitumen from northern Alberta across B.C. for shipment overseas. In Burnaby, the project would see the number of tankers that can dock at the terminal triple to three. Tanker traffic would jump to 400 a year.
The scheme would see the number of tanks at the Burnaby storage terminal double, with 14 new storage tanks installed. That would add another 3.9 million barrels of oil to the facility’s capacity. Currently, the terminal can hold 1.6 million barrels.
WHAT'S THE PLAN?
The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project is a $5.4-billion undertaking that would twin the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Strathcona County (near Edmonton) and Burnaby, if approved.
THE BIG PICTURE
Barrels per day: Would nearly triple, from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.
Size of pipe: 36 inches.
Pumping Stations: Jumps by 11 to a total of 35.
What’s in it:The existing line would pump refined products, synthetic crude oils and light crude oils. The proposed new line would carry heavier oils, including bitumen.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN BURNABY
More storage tanks:The number of tanks at the Burnaby storage terminal would double, with 14 new storage tanks installed. That would add another 3.9 million barrels of oil to the facility’s capacity. Currently, the terminal can hold 1.6 million barrels.
More tankers at the dock:The number of tankers that could dock at the Westbridge Marine Terminal would triple to three. A new vapour recovery and re-injection system to help control emissions would also be built.
More tankers in Burrard Inlet:The number of tankers would increase dramatically from about 60 a year to over 400 a year if the project is approved.
Who has the final say? The National Energy Board will review the project and make a recommendation to the federal cabinet. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet will have the final say on whether the project is approved or not.
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