Burnaby calls Kinder Morgan’s pipeline proposal 'incomplete'

The city has asked the National Energy Board to reject the pipeline expansion

Burnaby has formally requested the National Energy Board reject the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline due to a lack of sufficient information.

Despite the thousands of pages that makes up the proposal, the City of Burnaby’s legal counsel has sent a letter to the National Energy Board stating it’s incomplete and does not include enough information for the board to make an informed decision, or for the public to understand and analyze the project’s impact.

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On Dec. 16, 2013, Kinder Morgan submitted an application to the National Energy Board to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which would almost triple oil ­capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day in pipelines running from the Alberta oilsands to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. as part of the public hearing process, the city applied for intervenor status on Feb. 4 to relay its opposition to the $5.4 billion project.

“We are extremely concerned about multiple aspects of this proposal that we know will have very negative impacts on our city,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan, in a media release. “This concern is compounded by the fact that Kinder Morgan’s application is incomplete, which makes it impossible to know the extent of the impacts the pipeline would have on our city. Their application does not meet the requirements set out by the National Energy Board for such an application.”

The letter outlines how the board requires Kinder Morgan describe its plans and measures to address potential effects of accidents and malfunctions during operation, but it has not done so.

According to the city, the proposal states that Kinder Morgan does not have the resources to respond to all emergencies, but they do not provide required information on how such emergencies could be addressed.

“They seem to assume that the city will be able to manage these emergencies,” Corrigan said. “In fact, however, the city has neither the capacity to nor information on how to respond to such emergencies for these new facilities.”

As the Burnaby NOW previously reported, the application proposes two possible routes through Burnaby. In the letter, the city states that there is insufficient detail in each route to allow for any proper analysis of the disruptions and potential threats to Burnaby.

“They’re telling our citizens that they have operated the pipeline safely for 60 years, in spite of the fact that there has been more than one spill in Burnaby – the most recent of which, in 2007, devastated a Burnaby neighbourhood and damaged the Burrard Inlet habitat with a mere 1,500 barrels of oil,” he said. “We do not ever want to have to with the consequences of the kind of spill this new pipeline and the new storage tanks could cause.”

The letter also lists the applications shortfalls regarding the proposed route, infrastructure conflicts, environment effects, valued components, safety and security, plans to address accidents and malfunctions and consultation.

“Contrary to what Kinder Morgan has told the public, more than 90 per cent of the pipeline route proposed for Burnaby is new, and does not follow the existing right of way,” he said. “If Kinder Morgan doesn’t know yet where it is going, and hasn’t done the necessary studies, it is simply too soon to go to the NEB, and unfair to Burnaby’s citizens to require us to guess.”

If the application is ruled incomplete by the board, the application may return to Kinder Morgan for amendment and possible resubmission, which would delay the process and any hearings until the amendments are made.

“The burden should not be placed on potential participants in the hearing to go through multiple information requests to supplement the information provided in the application,” he said. “In light of the deficiencies in information in the application, we submit that the NEB should consider the application to be incomplete.”

Kinder Morgan did not respond to the Burnaby NOW’s request for comment by press deadline.

To read the letter from Burnaby’s legal counsel, click here.

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