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Kinder Morgan expansion could close Burnaby refinery: union

Unifor comes out against proposed expansion

One of Canada’s largest unions for energy workers has come out against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, arguing that the proposed project could be the beginning of the end for Burnaby’s Chevron refinery.

Unifor - a merger between the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers - filed its evidence with the National Energy Board hearing, arguing that the proposed expansion could threaten to close the refinery.

"The Kinder Morgan expansion project is all risk and no gain for British Columbians," said Unifor’s Joie Warnock in a media release. "We're calling on the NEB to do its job and reject pipeline proposals that aren't in the public interest."

Unifor represents workers at Burnaby’s Chevron refinery, which has been struggling to get enough oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline. Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion won’t necessarily solve Chevron’s supply dilemma, as most of the oil is slated for foreign markets and there will be less leftover for the refinery to bid on.

The union also raised concerns that an oil spill would harm the Fraser River commercial fishery.

"With the blessing of the NEB, Kinder Morgan made no attempt to explain the impact of the pipeline on Canada's refining industry, which all evidence suggests will be a disaster for jobs in B.C.," said Warnock. "No regulatory body acting in Canada's best interest could approve the Kinder Morgan expansion."