Pipeline safety plans are long overdue [and Tax Payers will foot the bill]

On the one hand, this is good news. On the other hand, we wonder why it has taken so long to initiate a safety plan for schools near, or built on, pipelines.

When a pipeline was ruptured during construction in 2007 in the Westridge neighbourhood, spewing thousands of litres of black oil on homes, gardens and streets, one would have thought that might have got folks thinking. Officials might have considered updating all pipeline maps and checking to see if any of the pipelines could pose a safety risk to those in senior care facilities, daycares and, of course, schools.

Given that we are in an earthquake zone, and experts believe we may see a large quake in our lifetime, it seems prudent that the city and school district know exactly what to do if a pipeline ruptures or breaks. And, of course, residents should know if there is a pipeline running through their neighbourhoods. After all, some of these pipelines have been underground for several decades.

In 2013, residents [Ed Note. In fact, it was the Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan that raised the issue with the Minister and worked with the Burnaby Teacher’s Association to bring this to public attention. Without the work of BROKE, the BTA, and the BC Federation of Teachers, nothing would have ever been done.] opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion called on the education minister to come up with safety plans for schools situated near or on the pipeline.

As Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline expansion application moves forward, it’s clear that many city residents weren’t even aware that a pipeline ran through or by their neighbourhood or their children’s school.

Currently, only Stoney Creek and Forest Grove schools have a pipeline near them. But if the new pipeline expansion plan is approved, five more schools may have pipelines running by them. Those schools are Seaforth, Cameron, Westridge, Lochdale, Montecito and Burnaby Mountain Secondary. By then, we hope, there’ll be thorough safety plans for all.

© Burnaby Now

Burnaby ramping up pipeline opposition

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan spent Tuesday night rallying the troops at a town hall meeting for opponents of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

The meeting was held at Cameron Elementary with roughly 200 people in the audience, many of whom applied as intervenors in the National Energy Board hearing.

“We’ve decided as a city to stand up and fight, and fight we will,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan told the audience that the city, which has also applied for intervenor status, has hired lawyer Gregory McDade to prepare Burnaby’s case. According to Corrigan, McDade needs petitions and comments from Burnaby residents opposed to the pipeline, to help build his case.

“It’s up to you to go out and get those signatures, to ensure people are aware and they are prepared to stand up and make their position known to the National Energy Board,” Corrigan said. “We have the opportunity to show them how a community can come together to fight against multinational corporations imposing their will on average citizens.”

After the speech, Zeralynne Te, from the city’s planning department, gave a presentation on how Kinder Morgan’s plan has changed over time and what the impacts would be if the expansion were approved. Te also raised concerns about emergency response for residents if the city’s first responders are tied up with an oil spill.

“I can tell you, if there was a major accident in the Shellmont system, that would deplete all of the city’s resources,” she said referring to the oil storage tanks on Burnaby Mountain.

According to the presentation, areas that will be impacted by the expansion include Westridge, Forest Grove, Lake City and Lougheed Town Centre, as well as conservation areas around the Brunette River and Burnaby Mountain.

Dipak Dattani, from the city’s engineering department, raised concerns that Kinder Morgan overlooked the storm drain system when drafting maps. (Crude oil escaped through sewer drains in the 2007 pipeline rupture in Burnaby’s Westridge neighbourhood.)

First Nations representatives also spoke, including Carleen Thomas from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Helesia Luke, assistant for MP Kennedy Stewart, told the crowd that her office would continue to help hearing applicants.

Ben West from ForestEthics said he felt “as strongly as ever before” that the pipeline would not be built, and that the fight could make B.C.’s War in the Woods look like a cakewalk. He also raised the possibility of First Nations’ legal action, which could interfere with the project.

“This may be the trump card to stop these projects from going forward,” West said.

Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion and ForestEthics organized the meeting, and ad hoc residents’ groups from the North Shore and the Fraser Valley also attended.

The city’s pipeline presentation should be posted online by the end of this week; go to www.burnaby.ca for more information.

© Burnaby Now

– See more at: http://www.burnabynow.com/news/burnaby-ramping-up-pipeline-opposition-1.877203#sthash.knRyjw4r.dpuf

Dr. John Clague on Earthquakes in Southwestern BC

Description: Evidence discovered by Canadian and U.S. scientists over the past 30 years has shown that the largest earthquakes on Earth occur at our doorstep, off the BC coast.  In this presentation, Dr. Clague describes how scientists found and interpreted the geological and biological evidence of these earthquakes. He also reviews the likely effects and impact of the next “Big One” on Vancouver, Victoria, and cities in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
To view abstract/bio: www.sfu.ca/cstudies/science

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Q&A Part 1 new

Q&A Part 2 new

Q&A Part 2 q

Q&A Part 1 but should be 2

Final Q& A

Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada’s resource agenda, documents reveal

The Canadian government is increasingly worried that the growing clout of aboriginal peoples’ rights could obstruct its aggressive resource development plans, documents reveal.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has run a risk management program to evaluate and respond to “significant risks” to its agenda, including assertions of treaty rights, the rising expectations of aboriginal peoples, and new legal precedents at odds with the government’s policies.

Yearly government reports obtained by the Guardian predict that the failure to manage the risks could result in more “adversarial relations” with aboriginal peoples, “public outcry and negative international attention,” and “economic development projects [being] delayed.”

“There is a risk that the legal landscape can undermine the ability of the department to move forward in its policy agenda,” one Aboriginal Affairs’ report says. “There is a tension between the rights-based agenda of Aboriginal groups and the non-rights based policy approaches” of the federal government.

The Conservative government is planning in the next ten years to attract $650 billion of investment to mining, forestry, gas and oil projects, much of it on or near traditional aboriginal lands.

Critics say the government is determined to evade Supreme Court rulings that recognize aboriginal peoples’ rights to a decision-making role in, even in some cases jurisdiction over, resource development in large areas of the country.

“The Harper government is committed to a policy of extinguishing indigenous peoples’ land rights, instead of a policy of recognition and co-existence,” said Arthur Manuel, chair of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, which has lead an effort to have the economic implications of aboriginal rights identified as a financial risk.

“They are trying to contain the threat that our rights pose to business-as-usual and the expansion of dirty energy projects. But our legal challenges and direct actions are creating economic uncertainty and risk, raising the heat on the government to change its current policies.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs declined to answer the Guardian’s questions, but sent a response saying the risk reports are compiled from internal reviews and “targeted interviews with senior management in those areas experiencing significant change.”

“The [corporate risk profile] is designed as an analytical tool for planning and not a public document. A good deal of [its] content would only be understandable to those working for the department as it speaks to the details of the operations of specific programs.”

Last year Canada was swept by the aboriginal-led Idle No More protest movement, building on years of aboriginal struggles against resource projects, the most high-profile of which has targeted Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry Alberta tar sands to the western coast of British Columbia.

“Native land claims scare the hell out of investors,” an analyst with global risk consultancy firm Eurasia Group has noted, concluding that First Nations opposition and legal standing has dramatically decreased the chances the Enbridge pipeline will be built.

In British Columbia and across the country, aboriginal peoples’ new assertiveness has been backed by successive victories in the courts.

According to a report released in November by Virginia-based First Peoples Worldwide, the risk associated with not respecting aboriginal peoples’ rights over lands and resources is emerging as a new financial bubble for extractive industries.

The report anticipates that as aboriginal peoples become better connected through digital media, win broader public support, and mount campaigns that more effectively impact business profits, failures to uphold aboriginal rights will carry an even higher risk.

The Aboriginal Affairs’ documents describe how a special legal branch helps the Ministry monitor and “mitigate” the risks posed by aboriginal court cases.

The federal government has spent far more fighting aboriginal litigation than any other legal issue – including $106 million in 2013, a sum that has grown over the last several years.

A special envoy appointed in 2013 by the Harper government to address First Nations opposition to energy projects in western Canada recently recommended that the federal government move rapidly to improve consultation and dialogue.

To boost support for its agenda, the government has considered offering bonds to allow First Nations to take equity stakes in resource projects. This is part of a rising trend of provincial governments and companies signing “benefit-sharing” agreements with First Nations to gain access to their lands, while falling short of any kind of recognition of aboriginal rights or jurisdiction.

Since 2007, the government has also turned to increased spying, creating a surveillance program aimed at aboriginal communities deemed “hot spots” because of their involvement in protest and civil disobedience against unwanted extraction on their lands.

Over the last year, the Harper government has cut funding to national, regional and tribal aboriginal organizations that provide legal services and advocate politically on behalf of First Nations, raising cries that it is trying to silence growing dissent.

Follow Martin Lukacs on twitter: @Martin_Lukacs

No Pipeline: March 4, 2014 Burnaby Town Hall Meeting



Burnaby Residents Opposing the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion (BROKE) and Forest Ethics Advocacy will host a Town Hall Meeting on March 4th about Kinder Morgan’s plan to build a new pipeline to carry crude bitumen at extremely high pressure from the Alberta tar sands to Burrard Inlet.

The pipeline, expansion of oil tanks on Burnaby Mountain, and increased tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet pose major risks.

Kinder Morgan presently ships 300,000 barrels of oil per day through its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which was built in the 1950s. The planned expansion would increase shipments to at least 890,000 barrels of crude oil and require construction of a new pipeline through residential neighborhoods, next to schools, near vulnerable salmon-bearing rivers and streams and protected conservation areas in Burnaby. Kinder Morgan’s proposal calls for dramatic expansion of storage tank capacity on Burnaby Mountain from 1.6 million barrels to 5.5 million barrels. The tar sands crude would then be loaded and shipped by huge tankers passing through 2nd Narrows, Georgia Straight, and the Salish Sea for export mostly to China. The plan also calls for expansion of the Westridge terminal dock from one berth to three capable of handling Afromax tankers with an average capacity of 750,000 barrels.

The shipment of bitumen, increases the risk of a catastrophic pipeline failure. Because of its viscosity, bitumen must be diluted by the addition of corrosive, noxious and carcinogenic chemicals plus high heat. This dramatically increases the risk of pipeline failure above and beyond the effects of lighter oils that have traditionally been shipped through the TransMountain pipeline. Bitumen also poses a special problem for cleanup after a pipeline, tank, or tanker accident because it sinks and cannot be cleaned from the land, rivers or ocean floor.

Get the facts. Come to the Town Hall on March 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM at Cameron Elementary School, 9540 Erickson Dr. Discuss the issues with your neighbors.

Contact: Forest Ethics Advocay & BROKE

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BurnabyPipelineWatch

Twitter – #nopipelines

Website – https:// www.brokepipelinewatch.ca

Is National Energy Board hearing just window dressing?

The National Energy Board has said no to MP Kennedy Stewart’s request to extend the application period to participate in the Kinder Morgan pipeline hearings, but how does this fit the bigger picture?

Stewart was raising the same question we were asking the board: what’s the point of having a public hearing when Burnaby residents don’t even know where the pipeline route will be?

To be clear, Kinder Morgan has not broken any rules. Apparently, it’s normal to submit an application with a preferred route and an alternative.

But the reality is the general public was not aware that Kinder Morgan switched route preferences in the south of the city till we broke the story – hence the request for an extension.

The company assures us and the board that all of the affected residents on both routes have been notified, but who defines directly affected? Thanks to the confusion about where the route will go, it was largely left to Kinder Morgan to determine who should be invited to apply for the hearing.

Furthermore, we know the Conservatives changed the energy board’s rules and tightened the criteria of who is allowed to participate. That’s why people are being asked to apply earlier, before the energy board even decides whether the application is complete, which is the first step in the approval process.

What’s clear here is this new, streamlined procedure is flawed. Fewer people can have a say in the process, and the board’s recent decision reflects that.

If the Conservatives want to streamline this process, the board should require pipeline companies to consult the general public, make a final decision on the route, and then apply to the board for project approval.

When people are lacking proper information to make informed decisions about a massive oil pipeline running through their city, democracy suffers, and we question whether this hearing is just window dressing.

© Burnaby Now

NEB says no to extending application period for pipeline hearing

The National Energy Board has decided not to extend the application period for people hoping to participate in the hearings for Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion.

The decision was revealed Wednesday morning, in a letter sent to Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart, who had raised questions about how people can properly participate in the public process when it’s unclear which route the pipeline will take.

“The board has set deadlines to ensure a fair and efficient process and is not persuaded, based on the request, to grant the broad extension to the application to participate sought by Mr. Stewart,” the National Energy Board letter states. “For the above reasons, the request is denied.”

Stewart, however, said the board was mistaken.

“The NEB has got this wrong. I don’t think there was adequate notification. There’s a lot of confusion around this location of the pipeline routes,” Stewart said in a call from Ottawa. “I’m concerned about a lot of communities along the route. … There’s no appeal of this ruling, so we’ll just have to abide by it.”

As previously reported in the NOW, some Burnaby residents were informed, in writing, that Kinder Morgan now prefers the alternate pipeline route in the south of the city, instead of the selected study corridor that runs down Lougheed Highway.

The NEB noted that Trans Mountain “undertook extensive and diligent” steps to notify potentially affected landowners, stakeholders and aboriginal communities on both the selected route and the alternate.

While Stewart argued that Kinder Morgan’s application was incomplete, and should therefore be sent back to the drawing board, the NEB stated the company notified “all properties” on the alternative routes, which have not changed.

The senior project manager overseeing the pipeline extension plan thought the NEB’s decision was fair.

“The decision not to extend the deadline was made at the discretion of the NEB. Trans Mountain supports a fair, reasonable and efficient review process for our proposed project and believes that anyone who, in the NEB’s opinion, is directly affected should have the right to participate,” said Greg Toth in an emailed statement. “That said, our filing has been public since Dec. 16, and the process to apply to intervene was well publicized and open.”
One thing the board didn’t mention was Kinder Morgan was missing some maps from the initial, electronic version of the application filed with the NEB. Among those maps was an image of the preferred pipeline route and the alternative in Burnaby.

According to the company the maps were not uploaded online because of a technical problem, but “exact duplicates” were included in a different section of the 15,000-page application.

Stewart estimated his constituency office helped about 1,000 people apply to participate in the hearing, many from Burnaby, but some from other areas of the province. In all, more than 2,000 people have applied as either intervenors or commentators.

“We’re moving to the next phase of the project, which is to support people as intervenors,” he said.

© Burnaby Now