Re: Mayor wants public consultation on pipeline, Burnaby NOW, March 7.
There's been a lot of attention put on the Enbridge Northern Gateway project that would send raw bitumen from the Alberta Oil Sands through to Kitimat, where the bitumen would be shipped to China and the rest of Asia for refinement into crude and other more usable forms of oil.
Rightly so, the attention has mainly been focused upon the potential environmental damage that could be done to the B.C. coast, and there have also been concerns that most of the economic benefit would go to Alberta while British Columbia is left to deal with the bulk of any potential harm or fallout from the pipeline.
These are legitimate concerns and need to be dealt with, but it concerns me that even in Burnaby and along the projected route, there's very little response or knowledge about the Kinder Morgan proposal to twin their current pipeline from Edmonton to the Burrard Inlet.
The purpose of the Kinder Morgan pipeline is the same as the Enbridge line, with the same associated costs and concerns.
It's odd that there has not been the same kind of public outcry, considering it was only a few years ago that the Kinder Morgan line ruptured in an urban community, with the spill taking many months to be contained and cleaned from the area.
Where are the public meetings from Kinder Morgan?
We know they've been having private meetings with potential customers through their "open season" bidding process on the pipeline's materials, so why are they unwilling to meet with residents and other potentially affected stakeholders to ensure that there won't be any problem or unwanted disruptions in the daily lives of citizens?
The reason should be abundantly clear; there's no good answer that Kinder Morgan can give to residents who rightly wish to know what is going to happen to their properties during and after the twinning process.
Families who have already had to deal with one rupture are now going to have twice as much raw bitumen flowing under their homes, and the potential for environmental damage will increase accordingly.
If Kinder Morgan had any kind of plan for containing or preventing these kinds of ruptures that would stand up to public scrutiny, we would already see these public meetings taking place.
That they have not been coming forward to meet with people can only mean that there's no plan to protect the environment and no plan to help the people unfortunate enough to live on the projected path of destruction.
So, let's be clear. There should not be any expansion or twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline until there's a publicized plan for protecting the environment and the homes of families, and it must be a plan that is credible and acceptable to those who are likely to be harmed the most through a spill.
To allow the expansion under any other conditions would be an abdication of responsibility to taxpayers and our environmental stewardship.
Trevor Ritchie, Burnaby
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