If push comes to shove, Mayor Derek Corrigan is prepared to end his political career getting arrested over the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
Those were Corrigan’s words to a packed audience at Wednesday night’s BROKE meeting at Forest Grove Elementary.
“We’re going to ride this thing through to the very end, because if we’re not going to win it here, we’re going to win it in the courts, and we’re going to continue to fight,” Corrigan told the audience. “If we go to court, we’re going to go to court with clean hands and ensure we’ve done everything humanly possible before I stand with you and probably 10,000 other people and get arrested to stop this (pipeline),” he said as the crowd applauded. “That’s a hard thing to promise for a lawyer and a mayor. It will probably be the end of my career. But if I end my career on that note, it will be something that I’m very proud of, that I stood my ground.”
Corrigan also noted the Metro Vancouver board voted on Friday to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. He criticized the National Energy Board process as a sham, and noted some hearing participants, like former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan, are pulling out of the process.
Corrigan was just one of many speakers at Wednesday’s meeting. Chris Bowcock, deputy chief of the Burnaby Fire Department, presented his recent report, outlining multiple fire safety hazards associated with the current tank farm and its proposed expansion. Bowcock included illustrations, showing just how far molten crude would spray in a “boilover event,” when tanks are heated to the point of explosion.
There were murmurs through the crowd when Bowcock explained that firefighters would have to let a flaming oil tank burn out for three to four days. He also pointed out that people at SFU would be trapped in the event of a major fire, as the only access roads to the university run close to the tank farm and would be closed.
Bowcock is still waiting on Kinder Morgan to provide detailed “fire preplans” on how the company would handle a major fire, and he reiterated how the company is responsible to fight its own fires.
Carleen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation talked of the beauty of the Inlet and the importance to protect it for generations to come. SFU professor Angela Brooks-Wilson presented an overview of the material safety data sheets and cancer-causing properties for dilbit, or diluted bitumen, one of the oil products shipped through the pipeline. Local resident John Clarke, who lives close to the tank farm, announced to the audience he was also withdrawing from the National Energy Board hearing. Clarke also pointed out the expanded tank farm would hold 5.6 million barrels of crude, which he calculated as roughly equivalent to 22 times the volume of the Exxon Valdez spill or 137 times the size of the Lac-Megantic disaster.
“We will have 22 Exxon Valdezes parked on our mountain above your school your community, and above everything you own if you happen to live in this area,” he said.
The National Energy Board is reviewing Kinder Morgan’s application to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline system, which runs oil from Alberta to Burnaby. The plans include enlarging to Burnaby Mountain tank farm and adding extra berths to the Westridge Marine Terminal on the Burrard Inlet.
BROKE, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, hosted Wednesday’s night meeting.