Mayor Derek Corrigan speaks at a recent anti-pipeline rally on Burnaby Mountain. Photo by Jennifer Gauthier.
Kinder Morgan and Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan have both issued letters to local residents about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Click here for Kinder Morgan's letter, sent out to Westridge residents in late September. Kinder Morgan's letter
Click here for Corrigan's letter, sent out this week. Mayor Derek Corrigan's letter
As always, the truth is in the middle. Allow me to clarify a couple of points in Corrigan's four-page criticism on Kinder Morgan.
"Kinder Morgan describes their pipeline as a twinning. In fact, in Burnaby 90% of the proposed line would follow a completely new route. It would carry unrefined oil products, not the refined (and less toxic) products carried in the existing line. It would result in a tripling of the capacity of oil stored on Burnaby Mountain and seven times the number of tankers carrying the oil (up to 580,000 barrels in each tanker) through Burrard inlet. The 890,000 barrels-per-day of oil it would carry would be for export, not for use anywhere in Canada. In no way would this pipeline resemble the existing line."
Kinder Morgan is describing the expansion project as twinning, which is true for much of the line with the exception of Burnaby. In Burnaby, the company will mostly pass through new territory, but the rest of the line – from Alberta to Burnaby – will mostly follow the same route.
"Kinder Morgan says Trans Mountain has “been operating safely in your community since 1953.” They have not! Kinder Morgan didn’t purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline until 2005. Since then, they have had a number of large spills, one of the most significant of which was in 2007 in Burnaby and saw a neighbourhood drenched in 1,572 barrels of crude oil, some of which flowed all the way to Burrard Inlet. Emergency evacuation of 250 Burnaby residents was required and 50 residential properties were affected. The spill entered the Burrard Inlet through a storm sewer and affected 1,200 metres of shoreline, impacting ecosystems and wildlife. The Transportation Safety Board ruled that the spill was the fault of Kinder Morgan and two contracting companies."
When Kinder Morgan says "operating safely since 1953," they are referring to the pipeline. What Corrigan says is true – Kinder Morgan bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in 2005 – but the reference to 1953 is when the pipeline system (not the company) started operating in Burnaby.
"Kinder Morgan says this pipeline would provide economic benefits for Burnaby.
It would not. Though short-term jobs would be created in pipeline construction, there is no guarantee that any of these jobs would be for local workers. The number of long-term jobs that would be created is insignificant. Kinder Morgan president, Ian Anderson, has admitted this fact."
This is true. I was at the Burnaby Board of Trade talk when Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, went over the numbers. Here's what I wrote then: "Anderson promised the company would prioritize hiring locally whenever possible and that there would be opportunities for Burnaby contractors, but data he presented to the crowd showed most of the jobs would not be local hires. Anderson said the Burnaby workforce would peak at about 600 jobs. As for permanent post-construction jobs, the company estimates there will be 50 in B.C." – That's all of B.C., not just Burnaby. The city receives $7 million in annual tax revenue from the current Trans Mountain operation, and if the NEB approves the expansion, that is expected to increase to $13 million per year, according to Anderson.
"Kinder Morgan says the route that would include tunnelling through Burnaby Mountain is now their preferred route. Kinder Morgan has changed their stated route preference several times. After the change to Burnaby Mountain, the National Energy Board postponed the project hearings by seven months, as citizens who would be directly affected because of the change had been given no opportunity to participate in the hearings. We believe that Kinder Morgan’s repeated preferred route changes are designed to divide our community and to enable them to say they are responding to public input. We expect their route preferences to continue to change."
Kinder Morgan changed its overall, primary route preference once (or twice!), but because they were not being up front with us about it, we found out in two stages. (They may have decided in two stages – it's not clear, because they were being a bit secretive at the time.) The first major change was in the south of the city. The second was in the north, when they decided to go through Burnaby Mountain.
Besides their preferred route (ie: their first choice) there are also secondary routes, and those have changed as well, which is likely why the mayor is saying the route has changed "several times." The original route was going to be down Lougheed Highway, up over to the tank farm on Burnaby Mountain, then down through the west side of the Westridge neighbourhood to the Burrard Inlet. Kinder Morgan changed to Burnaby Mountain because of negative feedback from Westridge residents.
"Kinder Morgan says they are “committed” to “fully restore” any areas they disturb.
This is not possible. The damage done as a result of Kinder Morgan’s initial survey work has had far-reaching damaging effects on the Mountain."
Kinder Morgan says it only cut down seven trees, while the city says 13. Strangely enough, when I visited the Burnaby Mountain site, none of the people from the City of Burnaby, could verify how many trees were actually cut.