Burnaby residents support protesters

Burnaby residents posed for pictures, waved signs and even delivered doughnuts to the Greenpeace activists who occupied the Westridge Marine Terminal on Wednesday.

A number of local residents came out to show their support for the demonstrators who were chained to the front gate and in other areas inside the terminal.

Hartwig Boecking, a 25-year resident, applauded the protest.

“I support this in many ways,” he said. “You don’t have to be an environmentalist to be in favour.”

Another protester arrived wearing a large yellow sign reading: “Clean water is worth more to us than dirty oil.”

The man, who would not give his name, said he was a former dog-walker and that all six of his dogs had died of a form of cancer, which he blames on the toxins he says are issuing from the terminal.

“These people,” he said, pointing to the two protesters chained to the gate, “are the bravest souls out here.”

Alan Dutton of Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE) said there’s a mixed reaction to the Greenpeace action.

“While many have expressed support, others are cynical about the long-term effect,” said Dutton. “I am optimistic, however, that the Greenpeace demonstration will not only raise public awareness about the multiple dangers of shipping and storing oil in major cities it will stimulate debate about the most effective ways to oppose building a new larger pipeline, more than doubling oil storage capacity on Burnaby Mountain and dramatically increasing tanker traffic through Second Narrows and Vancouver Harbour.”

Greenpeace B.C. director Stephanie Goodwin said the activists were grateful for the support.

“It was great,” she said. “We also heard from them that they want more information and more input into this issue.”

© Copyright 2013

Burnaby mayor predicts more action against pipeline

As Kinder Morgan tries to figure out how 16 Greenpeace activists were able to trespass on its property and chain themselves to things, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan says a lack of on-site security may have been the issue.

“Over the years, we’ve expressed our concerns with Kinder Morgan … relying on more remote centres some distance away and reducing the amount of people working at the plant,” Corrigan told the NOW. “It’s a concern we’ve expressed a number of times. What’s true we always find with companies is their economic interests are really the first priority and they consistently bring that attitude to the table.”

As the Burnaby NOW reported, on Wednesday 16 activists from the international environmental group were protesting the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which is a $5.4 billion undertaking that would twin the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Strathcona Country and Burnaby – if approved.

Corrigan said he predicts the Kinder Morgan facility in Burnaby will face more protests in the future.

“The reality is these kind of facilities are always potentially targets and I think we’ve known that for a long time now, that these facilities should be carefully watched because there is a significant public danger as a result of them,” he said. “Any time you’re storing or transporting that much fossil fuel there’s a potential for catastrophe – whether it’s from an accident or an intentional act.”

Corrigan said the protest has disappointed him because it’s indicative of an overall community feeling that people have lost faith in the federal process.

“I do want to say, that for me, my feel in my community is I think there is a lot of passion and while Greenpeace activists are a few individuals who are extremely committed, I think many people throughout Burnaby who are very concerned about this Kinder Morgan project, and as they get more information, they begin to realize the actual impacts,” he said.

Many Burnaby residents came out to support the protest on Oct. 16, presenting the protesters chained to the facility with doughnuts, waved signs and posed for pictures.

“I think people are figuring this game has been fixed for a long time so the reaction becomes much more one of people taking personal action then,” Corrigan said. “As a politician, someone responsible for decision making, I think it’s important that people feel it’s a meaningful process and one that gives the opportunity to truly be heards and I don’t think that’s the feeling people have gotten so far from the application process before the NEB (National Energy Board) and I don’t think people have gotten the impression that the federal government has got an open mind on the process.”

© Copyright 2013

Greenpeace activist arrested in Russia raises alarm over Arctic Sunrise ship

zzMannes Ubels was arrested along with 27 other Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists last month, when armed Russian coastguards stormed the Arctic Sunrise during a protest over offshore oil drilling at the Gazprom-operated Prirazlomnaya rig.

“The condition of the ship is worsening, and the security currently guarding the ship is not taking as good care of it as I would,” Ubels, a Dutch national, said via a translator during his court hearing.

Ubels and the other activists are being held in pre-trial detention in the Arctic port of Murmansk, and face charges of piracy, which carries a sentence of 10 to 15 years in prison. The activists come from 18 different countries and include six Britons. Investigators also claim that they found drugs on board the ship and have hinted that new charges could be forthcoming.

All of the activists have been refused bail, despite bail securities being pledged, and the head of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, offering in an open letter to President Vladimir Putin to come to Russia as a human bail guarantee ahead of trials. On Thursday, 11 Nobel peace laureates also wrote to Putin, calling on him to drop the “excessive” charges of piracy.

Russian officials do not appear ready to compromise, however. On Thursday, a judge at Murmansk regional court turned down the bail appeal from Ubels, saying that while he was not likely to commit further crimes, he was a “flight risk”. He also dismissed the suggestion that Ubels needed to be out of prison to maintain the Arctic Sunrise.

The ship has been moored in a military harbour outside Murmansk, but was towed into the city’s main port this week after an alarm went off on board. Dmitry Kuzmin, a lawyer for Greenpeace in Murmansk, said on Thursday that 200 tonnes of oil were on board the ship, and the organisation remains worried that left unmanned, the ship poses a risk even when docked. Greenpeace activists do not know why the alarm went off, and are worried that the ship has been left untended.

Ubels wrote a letter to Russian investigators from prison this month, raising alarm over the state of the ship.

“Soon, if not already, the generator that provides the ship’s electricity will stop running,” Ubels told the judge yesterday in a handwritten letter. “With this, all the ship’s main functions will stop working … The ship will no longer have an alarm system and common leakages of sea water into the engine room will no longer raise alarms.”

Ubels was taken to the Arctic Sunrise by Russian officials on one occasion, but told the court that there was not enough time for him to explain everything that was wrong with the ship, and added that basic maintenance tasks were not being carried out.

Martin Groenstege, the Dutch consul in St Petersburg, said: “He [Ubels] told me that he has the feeling that the Russians don’t know who is responsible for taking care of the ship.

“The investigative committee says the coastguard is in charge, and the coastguard says the investigative committee is in charge,” said Groenstege, who is in Murmansk to provide consular assistance.

In brief remarks after the hearing, Ubels told the Guardian that there was a real chance that the ship could sink.

“If it’s not properly monitored, then definitely yes,” he said, before being ushered away in handcuffs by guards to the holding facility where he and the other activists are being held pending trial.

Greenpeace Demonstrates Against Kinder Morgan Expansion

A Greenpeace protest at Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline terminal in Burnaby, B.C., is over, after activists voluntarily left the site at around 6:45 p.m. PT Wednesday night.

The group is protesting the proposed expansion of the pipeline, which would triple its capacity to carry crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to tankers in Vancouver.

Greenpeace spokesperson Peter Louwe said their protest action began at 7 a.m. PT Wednesday and that two protesters had climbed onto the oil pumping mechanism.

Fourteen others were also on the scene, chained to fences or strapped to pipelines.

Tsleil-Waututh elder Amy George “Halth-Leah” was at the Kinder Morgan facility to support Greenpeace. (CBC)

They were joined by at least one elder of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, whose traditional territories span across the shores of the Burrard Inlet and who are now based on the shore opposite Kinder Morgan’s shipping facility.

The Greenpeace action comes only days after the Tsleil-Waututh held their own protest, sailing across the Burrard Inlet in traditional canoes.

Rex Weyler, the co-founder of Greenpeace International, also took part in the protest on Wednesday.

“This is the biggest risk to the British Columbia coast that I can remember,” said Weyler.

“We want to avoid a major oil spill on the coast of British Columbia. We don’t want to be the tarsands shipping port.”

Kinder Morgan spokesperson Andrew Galamyk told CBC News in a statement that no ships were scheduled to arrive at the terminal Wednesday, so the protest actions were having a minimal impact on their operations.

“Our focus today is the safety of our staff, the facilities, the protesters and the community. We respect the rights of protesters to advance their cause, but in this case we are very concerned about this trespass and disturbance,” said Galamyk .

The Kinder Morgan facility is the west coast terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries Alberta bitumen from the Edmonton area, across southern British Columbia to port just east of Vancouver in Burrard Inlet, for shipment overseas.

When completed, the proposed expansion is expected to increase capacity in the Trans Mountain pipeline from the existing capacity of 300,000 barrels per day to 850,000 barrels per day.

Mike Hudema, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada, said the group came to make a point.

“We came to… draw attention to the tarsands and the threat they pose,” said Hudema.

“Over 130 B.C. First Nations and the majority of British Columbians have said no to tarsands pipelines and tankers, and we need that message to be delivered across the country and to Harper.

“This was an important step in helping us achieve our goal.”

Several RCMP officers attended the scene, but no action was taken and no arrests were made.

Once protesters began to leave the site, those from outside Metro Vancouver were escorted by police for processing.

Others were free to return home after providing their details. The Crown will decide whether any charges should be laid in the coming days.

With files from The Canadian Press

Pipeline Spews 20,600 Barrels of Fracked Oil Amidst Government Shutdown

Author
Steve Horn
More than 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota. Photo credit: Karen Bleier/Getty Images

More than 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota. Photo credit: Karen Bleier/Getty Images

More than 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota in one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history.

Though the spill occurred on Sept. 29, the U.S. National Response Center—tasked with responding to chemical and oil spills—did not make the report available until Oct. 8 due to the ongoing government shutdown.

“The center generally makes such reports available on its website within 24 hours of their filing, but services were interrupted last week because of the U.S. government shutdown,” explained Reuters.

The ”Incident Summaries” portion of the National Response Center’s website is currently down, and the homepage notes, “Due to [the] government shutdown, some services may not be available.”

At more than 20,600 barrels—equivalent to 865,200 gallons—the spill was bigger than the April 2013 ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline spill, which spewed 5,000-7,000 barrels of tar sands into a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, AR.

So far, only 1,285 barrels have been cleaned, and the oil is spread out over a 7.3 acre land mass.

Kris Roberts, environmental geologist for the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Water Quality told the Williston Herald, ”the leak was caused by a hole that deteriorated in the side of the pipe.”

“No water, surface water or ground water was impacted,” he said. “They installed monitoring wells to ensure there is no impact now or that there is going to be one.”

Roberts also told the Herald he was impressed with Tesoro’s handling of the cleanup.

“They’ve responded aggressively and quickly,” Roberts commented, also noting that the cleanup will cost upward of $4 million. “Sometimes we’ve had to ask companies to do what they did right off the mark. They’re going at this aggressively and they know they have a problem and they know what they need to do about it.”

Tesoro Logistics Chairman and CEO Greg Goff also weighed in on the spill.

“Protection and care of the environment are fundamental to our core values, and we deeply regret any impact to the landowner,” said Goff in a press release. “We will continue to work tirelessly to fully remediate the release area.”
Pipeline to Albany Refinery, Barging on the Hudson

Tesoro’s six-inch pipeline was carrying oil obtained via the controversial hydraulic fracturing process to the Stampede, ND rail facility. From Stampede, Canadian Pacific’s freight trains take the oil piped from Tesoro’s pipeline and ship it to an Albany, NY holding facility by Global Partners located along the Hudson River.

Albany, NY Global Partners Facility. Image credit: Google Maps

“Over five years, the equivalent of roughly 91 million barrels of oil will be transported via CP’s rail network from a loading facility in Stampede, N.D., to a Global terminal in Albany,” explained a September story appearing in the Financial Post.

Albany’s holding facility received its first Canadian Pacific shipment from the Bakken Shale in December 2011, according to Bloomberg, with 1.4 million barrels of storage capacity. The facility receives 149,000-157,000 barrels of Bakken crude per day from Canadian Pacific.

Once shipped to Global’s Albany holding facility, much of the oil is barged to market on tankers along the Hudson from the Port of Albany.

“As much as a quarter of the shale oil being produced in North Dakota could soon be headed by rail to the Port of Albany,” explained an April 2012 article appearing in the Albany Times-Union. “The crude oil…will be loaded onto barges to be shipped down the Hudson River to refineries along the East Coast.”
North Dakota Petroleum Council Responds

North Dakota Petroleum Council’s response to the largest fracked oil spill in U.S. history and one of the biggest onshore spills in U.S. history? Ho-hum.

“You know, this is an industrial business and sometimes things happen and the companies are certainly responsible to take care of these things when they happen,” Petroleum Council President Ron Ness told KQCD.

John Berger, manager of Tesoro’s Mandan, ND, refinery, sits on the Petroleum Council’s Board of Directors.

David Ellis: independent pipeline critic

David Skok
Director, GlobalNews.ca

George Browne
Managing Editor
Globalnews.ca

Sirs: My name is David Ellis, I am an independent pipeline critic and if you goggle “David Ellis Kinder Morgan” you see the efforts of me and my colleagues.

I am outraged that next week you intend to interview Mr. Ian Anderson CEO Kinder Morgan regarding the aggressive, intrusive, and offensive proposal of Kinder Morgan to “twin” their antiquated and failing 61 year old pipeline, with a massive 36 inch pipeline to carry tar sands oil to BC. Even the continued use of the ramshackle and rotten 61 year old pipeline is an offensive to Canadians, who know that a major spill is now immanent. Just because this is one of the largest corporations in the world dies not give it licence to be heard if how it presently operates, and how it proposes to operate in the future, are in reality nothing but a violent assault upon this Province, as future oil spills, are a “given”.

The future of the Fraser and Thompson river, and their peoples, are not negotiable, and GlobalNews.ca does not have the right to negotiate on behalf of the people of this Province, and of Canada.

I predict that the continued use of the heavily corroded 61 year old pipe (see below) will cause a spill this winter that will be devastating to the BC economy, and leave it in taters for many decades. I hope that your report this week can use real data concerning the present, real, on-the-ground condition of this pipe (site near Hope see below is available to you as crews concentrate on water testing in the Coquihalla area) and not waste the public’s time with yet more hype and pie-in-the sky technical data from Kinder Morgan’s CEO and massive and very slick, public relations team.

I and others can supply you with pics of the present condition of this pipe, and the professionals at the National Energy Board, should be asked to comment and give a technical assessment of these pics, “stress corrosion cracking” and “Cathodic protection” (or the complete lack of it in the Coquihalla area) need to now be discussed.

David Ellis
3872 Point Grey Road
Vancouver, B.C.
V6R 1B4

FIRST NATIONS VOICE NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE CONCERNS TO UN

James Anaya, the body’s indigenous rights envoy, was in Vancouver meeting with aboriginal groups. The discussions covered missing women, poor housing conditions and fisheries, among other issues.

The Yinka Dene Alliance of pipeline-opposing First Nations said governments, both provincial and federal, “failed” to consult aboriginals on the projects in language hinting at potential future lawsuits.

“I was very impressed by James Anaya,” said Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, the alliance co-ordinator. “Would he bring this issue forward to Canada? We remain hopeful that he will. Part of his job is fact-finding. He does have the mandate to make recommendations to Canada.”

A Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations spokesman defended 11 permits granted for Enbridge Inc. to do “investigative” work along the planned route as “a standard, preliminary step for any activity of this type.”

The Calgary-based company is awaiting Ottawa’s decision on its proposed oil sands pipeline.

Enbridge didn’t respond to an interview request by press time.

Chief Fred Sam of alliance member Nak’azdli First Nation, said the audience with Anaya is the latest effort to express a united protest by aboriginals to projects like Northern Gateway.

“He was sincere about what we had to say,” Sam said. “It’s too bad that he wasn’t granted more time in Canada. There are a lot of things happening.”

Environmental group says some Albertans want tougher cold heavy oil regulations

Ecojustice says some people in northwest Alberta have moved away from their homes because of health concerns about an extraction process called cold heavy oil production.

The group made the comments Monday as the Alberta Energy Regulator held a public meeting in Peace River to set the scope for an inquiry that will look into their concerns.

Karla and Alain Labrecque and their two children left their family farm almost two years ago after suffering headaches, sinus problems and muscle spasms.

“It simply became unbearable,” Karla Labrecque said. “We were genuinely concerned for the health of our children and had to leave.”

Ecojustice will represent the Labrecques at the inquiry.

The family has moved to Smithers, B.C.

Ecojustice says the cold heavy oil process involves heating the heavy oil and then storing it in tanks, venting noxious emissions into the surrounding area.

Alain Labrecque said the Alberta government has been slow to deal with their concerns.

“We were farming here successfully and the last thing we wanted to do was move,” he said.

“That’s why we spent two years trying to get changes done. And they are just too slow. And I’m glad we moved because it is not changing fast.”

The regulator has said all of the companies in the area have met regulatory standards and the inquiry is the next stage to finding a solution.

Ecojustice lawyer Melissa Gorrie said better regulations are need as more companies use the cold heavy oil process in northwestern Alberta.

“We see this inquiry as an important step and we hope that at the end of this process a regulatory framework is developed to the address the impacts associated with cold heavy oil production,” she said.

Tesoro oil spill: over 20,000 barrels seep into North Dakota wheat field

More than 20,000 barrels of crude oil have spewed out of a Tesoro oil pipeline in a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota, the state health department said Thursday.

State environmental geologist Kris Roberts said the 20,600-barrel spill, among the largest recorded in the state, was discovered on 29 September by a farmer harvesting wheat about nine miles south of Tioga.

“The farmer was harvesting his wheat and started smelling oil,” Roberts said. “It went from there.”

The spill has been contained and no water sources have been contaminated, Roberts said. Cleanup crews have recovered about 1,285 barrels of oil, officials said. A barrel is 42 gallons.

Tesoro Logistics, a subsidiary of the San Antonio, Texas-based company that owns and operates parts of Tesoro’s oil infrastructure, said in a statement that the affected portion of the pipeline has been shut down.

“There have been no injuries or known impacts to water, wildlife or the surrounding environment as a result of this incident,” it read. Tesoro said the cause of the spill is being investigated.

“Protection and care of the environment are fundamental to our core values, and we deeply regret any impact to the landowner,” Tesoro CEO Greg Goff said in a statement. “We will continue to work tirelessly to fully remediate the release area.”

allegedThe hole in the pipeline was a quarter-inch in diameter, said Eric Haugstad, Tesoro’s director of contingency planning and emergency response.

Tesoro officials were investigating what caused the hole in the 20-year-old, six-inch-diameter steel underground pipeline line that runs about 35 miles from Tioga to a rail facility outside of Columbus, near the Canadian border. Roberts said the hole may have been caused by corrosion.

The spill is spread out over 7.3 acres, or about the size of seven football fields, he said, noting an oil pipeline breach in the late 1980s in the northeast corner of the state was larger.

Roberts said the farmer who discovered the leak had harvested most of his wheat prior to the spill. The wheat is being tested for contamination at a local grain elevator, he said.

Tesoro owns North Dakota’s only oil refinery, which occupies about one and a half square miles of land overlooking the Missouri River in Mandan. The facility was built in 1954, three years after drillers began pumping oil in North Dakota. Tesoro acquired the refinery from BP in 2001.

Tesoro said that the cleanup cost is estimated at $4m, and Roberts said state and federal regulators are monitoring the cleanup, the completion of which is not known.

Crews initially burned oil from the surface but have since dug ditches and recovery wells, Roberts said. Several vacuum trucks have sucked oil from the ditches and wells on the site, he said.

A natural layer of clay more than 40 feet thick underlies the spill site and has “held the oil up” so that it does not spread to underground water sources, Roberts said. The nearest home is about a half mile from the spill site, he said.

“It is completely contained and under control,” Roberts said Thursday. “They got very lucky.”

In remote field, North Dakota oil boom suffers first big spill

(Reuters) – A Tesoro Logistics LP pipeline has spilled more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil into a North Dakota wheat field, the biggest leak in the state since it became a major U.S. producer.

The six-inch pipeline was carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale play to the Stampede rail facility outside Columbus, North Dakota. The affected part of the line has been shut down, Tesoro said.

Farmer Steven Jensen discovered the leak on September 29 while harvesting wheat on his 1,800-acre farm, about nine miles northeast of Tioga, North Dakota.

Oil was gushing from the pipeline “like a faucet, 4 to 6 inches spewing out,” said Jensen, who added that nearby wheat plants were ruined.

The leak did not pose an immediate threat to groundwater sources, Kris Roberts, who leads the environmental response team at the state Department of Health told Reuters.

At an estimated 20,600 barrels, it ranks among the biggest U.S. spills in recent years. It is the biggest oil leak on U.S. land since March, when the rupture of an Exxon Mobil pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas spilled 5,000 to 7,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude.

It comes at a time when concerns are growing over the safety of the U.S. pipeline network, which is pumping more oil than ever to bring shale oil and Canadian crude to U.S. refiners.

While authorities said no lakes, streams or rivers were within five miles of the spill, the incident could provide ammunition to activists who contend water supplies could be endangered by construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Oklahoma.

Neither Tesoro nor state regulators could give a cause for the spill or say how long it lasted. Repairs, containment and remediation could cost $4 million, Tesoro said in a statement.

“The pipeline was shut immediately and the leak is now contained,” said Tina Barbee, a Tesoro spokeswoman.

“AS BIG AS A DECK”

The oil was isolated within a 7.3-acre (29,947 square meter) area, and within the top 10 feet of clay soil, according to a report filed with the National Response Center on October 8.

The center generally makes such reports available on its website within 24 hours of their filing, but services were interrupted last week because of the U.S. government shutdown.

Jensen said he smelled the sweet Bakken crude oil four days before he discovered a black pool “as big as a deck” on a remote part of his wheat field.

“It was pretty ugly,” he said. The nearby crop had “disintegrated, you wouldn’t have known it was a wheat plant.”

A day after Jensen reported the leak to an 811 line, the company sent its response team and burned oil that had accumulated on the spot.

Tesoro also dug containment ditches 14 feet deep around the area to limit the effects of the leak, which occurred below ground, North Dakota State Representative David Rust said.

Three excavators were scooping up contaminated soil and dumping it into yellow shipping containers late on Thursday. Security personnel kept trespassers at bay while men in hard hats worked on the site.

CASCADING EFFECTS

The ruptured pipeline is part of Tesoro’s “High Plains” pipeline system in North Dakota and Montana, which gathers oil from the Bakken shale and delivers it to another Enbridge pipeline and Tesoro’s 68,000 barrels-per-day Mandan refinery. The line runs 35 miles from Tioga to Black Slough, North Dakota.

San Antonio, Texas-based Tesoro said the refinery in Mandan is operating normally. But the shutdown has affected third-party shippers, Tesoro’s Barbee said.

“We are unable to forecast potential supply impacts on behalf of our third-party shippers,” Megan Arrendondo, a Tesoro spokeswoman said.

The company said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) were at the site. The regional EPA office could not be reached because of the government shutdown.

This is the biggest oil spill in North Dakota since 1 million barrels of salt water brine, a by-product of oil production, leaked from a well site in 2006, according to the state Department of Health.

New developments in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have caused a boom in North Dakota’s oil production and boosted the state’s economy. Oil output jumped from 125,000 barrels per day in 2007 to 875,000 bpd in July. North Dakota is now second only to Texas in oil production among U.S. states.

(Additional reporting by Ernest Scheyder, Matthew Robinson, Joshua Schneyer and Marina Lopes; Writing by Selam Gebrekidan; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)