The City of Burnaby is throwing its support behind the provincial government’s push to make Kinder Morgan’s emergency management plan public.
The energy company, which is proposing to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline and the tank storage facility in Burnaby, wants to keep the plan confidential because it contains proprietary information, but that doesn’t sit well with Mayor Derek Corrigan.
“We know that Kinder Morgan does not have the capacity to deal with potential spills and fires, and we are determined to ensure that they are not permitted to hide from the public the inadequacy of their plans,” he said in a press release. “By denying access to the emergency management documents, Kinder Morgan is increasing the risk to the citizens of Burnaby and emergency personnel.”
The local fire department has been one of the company’s most vocal critics when it comes to safety, claiming the company is not prepared to handle a major fire at the tank farm. Now the provincial government has chimed in, arguing to the National Energy Board that Kinder Morgan’s plans should not be confidential.
“It is unclear to the province how emergency response procedures, including the location of facilities and response equipment, or response time maps, could possibly contain information of a proprietary nature,” the province stated in documents filed with the NEB.
When asked why the plan was proprietary, Kinder Morgan spokesperson Ali Hounsell explained that there is information – phone numbers and locations of equipment – that isn’t meant to be shared publicly. However, the city, fire department and province all have a copy of the plan, she added, and there’s a public summary available online.
“We have an emergency response plan in place today, audited (and) shared with local responders. We are required to file a detailed response plan for the new pipeline before operation, and we will do that,” she said.
The NEB’s Whitney Punchak said the board will review intervenors’ comments and make a decision on the issue “at a later date.”
*Story updated with Kinder Morgan and NEB's response.