Oil Spill Risk Assessment

Under Construction July 26, 2014

Serious concerns have been raised by many experts that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project could pose significant economic and environmental risks. With more tankers transiting the coast, the risk of an oil spill increases dramatically. An oil spill could devastate local industries such as fisheries and tourism and cost billions of dollars to clean up- mostly to be paid by tax payers. On average only 5-15% of oil is ever recovered from a spill, meaning that even clean-up measures are limited in their efficacy. The Kalamazoo River oil spill that occurred in Michigan has already cost over $1 billion with economic and health impacts lasting for years. The risk of an oil spill are further complicated by the fact that the tankers would be carrying dilbit, a heavy oil that has been shown to sink under conditions similar to what we have on the B.C. coast.

Links
WestCoast Environmental Law: Risk Assessment for Marine Spills in Canadian Waters

Health Risks

PEHSU Information on Gulf Coast Oil Spill
for Parents and Community Members

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) Network encourage families, pediatricians, and communities to work together to ensure that children are protected from exposure to environmental hazards.

Children are at Risk

Environmental pollutants are especially harmful to children. They eat, drink, and breathe more than adults on a pound for pound basis. A child’s nose and mouth are closer to the ground than the nose and mouth of an adult; so children more easily breathe in pollutants in the air, which may accumulate close to the ground if they are heavier than air. Because children play on the ground, they are more likely to have skin contact with pollutants than adults. Toddlers may crawl and as a result, may get contaminated soil, sand and other substances on their hands and clothes. It is normal for toddlers to put their hands in their mouth so they will accidentally get more toxic substances in their bodies than older kids and adults.

About Oil

The oil washing up on shore is referred to as weathered oil. This means it has been mixed with seawater and exposed to sunlight and air. It is not the same as crude oil coming out of the ground nor like a refined oil such as motor oil. Understanding the potential risks to children is hard because so little is known about the toxicity of weathered oil and the mix of weathered oil and sand, often called “tar balls.” According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), skin and respiratory problems were the most common complaints from workers who cleaned up other oil spills. It is sensible to prevent children from touching or playing with oil on shore and from swimming in water contaminated with oil or products used for clean up. Parents should check with local health officials to find out which beaches or shore areas are affected (see links at end of fact sheet).

Steps to Take to Protect Children from Hazards

The oil spill in the Gulf Coast may expose children to potential pollutants and concerns. Until the oil spill is resolved, the following should be kept in mind:

• The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is testing the air, water, and soil. The substances being tested have the potential to cause various health effects depending upon the level of exposure, the length of exposure, and the susceptibility of the individuals exposed.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing health guidance based upon these results.

• It is important to keep in mind that children may be especially at risk. Parents and caregivers should follow alerts issued by the state health department and local health departments. They should urge their children to do the same.

• Local Poison Control Centers (1-800-222-1222 or www.aapcc.org ) are available to respond to questions related to acute, sudden exposures.

Reding List

National Energy Board orders Enbridge to cease work on Manitoba pipeline

The National Energy Board has ordered Enbridge Inc. to stop work along its Line 3 oil pipeline in Manitoba after an inspection earlier this month revealed numerous environmental and safety concerns.

Line 3 has been carrying crude between Alberta and Wisconsin for nearly half a century. Enbridge announced plans earlier this year to replace the pipeline in its entirety – a $7.5-billion undertaking that would be the largest project in the company’s history.

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Company spokesman Graham White said Friday the NEB order relates to regular maintenance work on the existing pipeline around Cromer, Man., not the larger replacement project.

The NEB says it won’t allow work to resume until it’s satisfied the problems have been fixed by Enbridge.

“During the inspection of the project, it was observed that multiple construction mitigation measures committed to by Enbridge in its Environmental Protection Plan to conserve topsoil, control erosion and manage drainage were not implemented,” the NEB said in its order.

That has resulted in “numerous non-compliances observed both on and off the construction right-of-way causing environmental damage to wetlands and property damage to a substantial amount of agricultural land.”

The NEB order also said erosion, lack of safe access to agricultural land and open excavations and trenchlines pose safety hazards.

“The resumption of construction activities by Enbridge without a full assessment of damages would cause further detriment to property, safety of the public and the environment,” it said.

Before work can continue, the NEB said Enbridge has to complete a detailed assessment of the safety and environmental issues and put together an action plan, with a detailed timetable, to address each item.

White said Enbridge has already started working on the issues flagged by the NEB and that safety concerns will be dealt with immediately.

He added flooding and heavy rainfall in late June hampered efforts to address the problems, which had been raised by a landowner and about which Enbridge was aware. The issues were related to land around the pipeline, not the pipeline itself, he said.

For the full Line 3 replacement project, White said Enbridge is holding open-houses in communities along the route and plans to submit a regulatory application by the end of this year.

The upgrade will allow the line to pump a maximum of 760,000 barrels per day, up from the 390,000 barrels it is currently able to move.

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Federal party leaders headed West seeking pipeline advantage

OTTAWA — The two major federal opposition leaders are heading west this summer hoping to take advantage of the hostility of many British Columbians for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

But Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau might want to reconsider making the $7.9 billion megaproject a central campaign plank in the 2015 election campaign, warns Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s B.C. lieutenant.

James Moore said both opponents risk sharing the fate of former provincial New Democratic Party leader Adrian Dix, who in 2013 blew a huge lead in the polls and was rejected by voters after deciding to oppose Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion.

“If Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair want to take the Adrian Dix approach to saying no to any development in Western Canada and particularly in British Columbia in the next election, they’re going to have the same outcome in the next election as Adrian Dix did,” said Moore, who in 2012 harshly criticized Enbridge for its clumsy attempts to win public support for the pipeline megaproject.

“The public (according to polls) is split on the matter. But what the public is not split on is the idea of politicians is being reflexively against any development in British Columbia. They always reject that.”

Moore was subjected last month to several days of ridicule as opposition MPs, and especially Mulcair, accused him and B.C.’s other Tory MPs of “hiding” from the media rather than defending the government’s support of Northern Gateway.

Instead, the government relied on cautious statements from Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, who said only that the government was endorsing Enbridge’s project subject to it meeting 209 conditions imposed by a federal review panel in December.

Moore, the industry minister, dismissed the notion he was dodging responsibility to speak on a major B.C. issue. He noted that it’s standard practice for the minister responsible for the decision, in this case Rickford, to speak for the government on any matter under his or her responsibility.

Moore was asked if he believes Enbridge has, since the company’s darkest moments in 2012 after a U.S. regulator lambasted the company, made strides in winning “social licence” to proceed with the $7.9 billion project.

“I do, and certainly part of the 209 conditions speak to the concerns raised by the public that are now embedded in the conditions for them to move forward, and those conditions have to be met.”

Both Mulcair and Trudeau are planning B.C. visits in August, while Harper has tentative plans to head to the West Coast sometime this summer, according to an official in his office.

The province is seen as a battleground in part because B.C. got six new seats in the latest electoral boundary distribution, raising the total to 42. Five of those new seats are in the Greater Vancouver area, while the other is on Vancouver Island.

The Tories have 21 seats, the NDP 12, the Liberals two and the Green party one, leader Elizabeth May. If the new map had been used in the 2011 election the Conservatives would have won 28 seats, the NDP 11, the Liberals two and the Greens one.

Harper’s party won its seats in 2011 with just under 46 per cent of the vote in B.C., while currently polls indicate the party is at around the 33 per cent level — a steep plunge but still ahead of the Liberals and NDP, both at 28 per cent, according to data compiled by poll analyst Eric Grenier.

While both Mulcair and Trudeau are adamantly opposed to the Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, they differ in their approach to Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion plan to build a pipeline that will triple capacity to its facility in Burnaby.

Trudeau has spoken vaguely about being potentially more favourable towards the project, saying he believes the company may show it has learned from Enbridge’s mistakes.

Mulcair, by contrast, said the current federal review of the Kinder Morgan initiative is tainted due to restrictions imposed which prevent cross-examination of witnesses.

Moore saved his most scathing criticism for Trudeau, ridiculing the Liberal leader’s condemnation of Gateway, his on-the-fence view toward Kinder Morgan project, and his wholehearted endorsement of Trans Canada Pipeline’s proposed project to ship crude oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Justin Trudeau’s approach to this is laughable. I mean, he says he’s in favour of Keystone but he’s against Enbridge but he’s maybe in favour of Kinder Morgan, but will wait and see.

“Well, actually, no. Responsible governments don’t pick and chose energy projects based on public opinion polls. You have to have an evidence-based, science-based approach to these things that listens to independent panel recommendations.”

Nathan Cullen, the NDP’s finance critic and a prominent West Coast MP, rejected the notion the NDP is on the wrong side of public opinion.

“The Conservatives have wedded themselves to irresponsible development and have to pay the political price,” he told The Sun.

“We believe there is a safe way to ship oil and it must be done with the support of local communities and First Nations, add value and create jobs, and pass a real environmental review. This is what the vast majority of BC voters want.”

poneil@postmedia.com

Kinder Morgan wrong on costs

Dear Editor:
Re: Facts don’t back claims, Letters to the Editor, July 16, Burnaby NOW.

Scott Stoness, vice-president of regulatory and finance for Kinder Morgan Canada, would be well served to review Volume 2 in the company’s National Energy Board application for approval to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline system. In there he will find that the company tells the Canadian regulator crude oil prices in Canada will rise if the expansion is approved. Then, he needs to listen to Ian Anderson’s presentation to investor analysts in Houston, Texas, last January before commenting on my letter.

My letter points out what Kinder Morgan says about its pipeline’s expansion leading to higher crude oil prices in Canada and how Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, misled Burnaby NOW readers, when he tried to massage the message for public relations purposes.

In trying to promote the expansion project’s dubious economic benefit, Kinder Morgan has claimed vast increases in the price of crude oil for all oil produced in Western Canada. If the company is going to make wild claims about windfall profits to oil producers because of higher crude oil prices – by as much as $25 per barrel according to Mr. Anderson – then they have to take responsibility for what those higher prices mean to domestic refineries who purchase Western Canadian crude and ultimately how these higher prices are passed onto consumers and businesses.

Mr. Stoness tries to suggest that Western Canadian and U.S. refineries would absorb a price increase of as much as $25 per barrel on Western Canadian crude. This is absurd. Refineries faced with such price increases in their feedstock costs will – as in the past – pass them onto us.

What I find particularly fascinating, however, is Kinder Morgan will address this issue in an open letter through the Burnaby NOW but aggressively avoids it at the NEB hearing. As an intervenor, I asked “does Trans Mountain believe that the cost of gasoline at the pumps, and the cost of other petroleum product prices facing end users may be a public interest issue?”

The answer I received was a refusal to answer: “Trans Mountain acknowledges that the price of gasoline and other petroleum prices facing end users is of interest to the public, … however, the information request is not relevant to one or more of the issues identified in the National Energy Board’s list of issues for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.”

Robyn Allan

© Burnaby Now

Mayor will reject Kinder Morgan’s land request

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan has vowed to push back on Kinder Morgan’s attempts to survey Burnaby Mountain for a pipeline route. Meanwhile, the oil company is planning to ask the National Energy Board to go over the city’s head.

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said the company would seek the National Energy Board’s help accessing the land if Burnaby refuses to co-operate.

“We would prefer to have the city’s permission to access the city’s lands in order to work, and we will be formally requesting that soon. If it is not provided, then we will go the National Energy Board and seek a ruling of the board to have the authority to instruct the city to grant us access to those lands,” he said in a conference call with media on Friday. Anderson indicated the company would apply to the city and the NEB concurrently, and he expected the process would take weeks, not months.

The city, which is staunchly opposed to the pipeline expansion, rejected the company’s informal query to drill holes on the mountain, which is a dedicated park and conservation area.
According to Corrigan, consultants (who did not initially identify themselves as affiliates of Kinder Morgan) asked city staff if they could drill holes in the park.

“Staff treated it as anyone coming in and making an inquiry. We said, ‘Well, it’s not likely we’re going to give you approval to start digging up a park,’ and that was the limit of the discussion,” Corrigan said. Afterwards, city staff confirmed the consultants were working with Kinder Morgan, he added.

The relationship between the two parties has soured, and Anderson said Burnaby has broken off contact.

“Since we filed our application in December, virtually all communication with Burnaby has been terminated by them,” Anderson said.

Corrigan said he wants Kinder Morgan to get on with it, put a formal application in so the city can reject it, and then he will deal with the National Energy Board.

“Get your formal refusal, and get on with your National Energy Board application,” he said. “But if the National Energy Board is going to order us to do that, then do so, and we’ll comply to the National Energy Board order, … but we want a chance to go in and argue before the National Energy Board why they shouldn’t grant that order.”

On Tuesday, the board announced the pipeline hearing would be delayed by seven months, because the board needed more information on the Burnaby Mountain route. The new line was originally supposed to run through Burnaby’s Westridge neighbourhood, but that plan was dropped because of opposition from local residents. Kinder Morgan changed the preferred route to Burnaby Mountain in April, roughly four months after filing the project application with the NEB.

Now, the company wants to either drill or tunnel through the mountain to connect the tank farm to the Westridge Marine Terminal, where tankers fill up with crude. The tunneling option is more expensive but would also allow Kinder Morgan to move the existing pipeline out of Westridge and run it through the mountain instead.

Corrigan also expressed concern about the new plan.

“Tunnelling is not good. It has a lot of issues,” he said. “The initial assessment we’ve got is the mountain is not particularly stable. It may not be seismically safe. … You can imagine if that oil starts spilling through the mountain internally. That’s a problem that will takes a thousand years to fix.”

© Burnaby Now

Burnaby fires back at Kinder Morgan

The mayor of Burnaby says his city has been left to wage a David versus Goliath battle with Kinder Morgan over its plans to expand the Trans-Mountain pipeline.

Derek Corrigan says Kinder Morgan has waged a public relations battle convincing people the pipleline means jobs and economic investment in BC.

“Well in fact it is not. What it is, is a massive implication for the Alberta economy and it is certainly a big deal for those multinational companies who are exploiting our oil but for the average Canadian they are doing much better supporting the beer industry than the oil industry as far as jobs are concerned.”

Corrigan says the city is being bullied and is just fighting back.

“Kinder Morgan is opposed to everything that we attempt to do in those hearings. We have attempted to get the ability to cross examine witnesses. We have asked a multitude of questions and recieved no answers. They can’t expect that this is one sided that yet we are going to cooperate with them in giving them opportunities to investigate alternatives.”

Corrigan says Kinder Morgan is in for a fight if it applies to the NEB to compel the city to allow it access to Burnaby mountain.

“We will vehemently oppose that at the hearing before the National Energy Board. We have reached opposite sides of this argument. I beleive my community strongly supports what we are doing and that is that we are opposing the imposition of this pipeline on our community. We do not see any benefit to the people that live in Burnaby.”

Kinder Morgan wants to assess the feasibility of tunneling through Burnaby mountain for its expanded Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Two regional districts join line of intervenors looking for pipeline answers

The Fraser Valley Regional District says answers to some of its intervenor questions have been ignored or dismissed by Kinder Morgan in the Trans Mountain pipeline review hearings.

Chair Sharon Gaetz says 18 questions including some about oil spill response and water impact concerns were glossed over by Kinder Morgan and need to be answered.

Gaetz says, for example, they asked if the pipeline would fall in line with the FVRD’s ground level ozone strategy.

“This is their response. The report has not been provided to Trans Mountain it is not readily available nonline therefor no specific response can be given at this time. you know what? We actually provided that to them and attached it to the document. So we would like them to answer that question.”

Or this response to another FVRD question on air quality.

“Trans Mountain is committed to reducing emissions during construction and operation of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline and then they didn’t say anything else. So we didn’t think it was unreasonable to ask how they are going to do that.”

Metro Vancouver is also asking the National Energy Board to compel Kinder Morgan to provide appropriate answers to its intervenor questions.

Metro Environment Director Roger Quan says out of 105 Trans Mountain pipeline questions 52 answers were inadequate.

Quan says Metro also wants the NEB to extend a deadline for intervenors to file more questions due to new, crucial, information due this fall from Kinder Morgan.

“They have said this new technical update will come out in the third quarter of this year and in the worst case that is at the end of September. We do have to file round two information requests by September 11th. In a worst case this new information will come out after we file our round two information requests.”

Quan says they want the NEb to delay the September 11th deadline for intervenors to submit second round questions.

“Some of this is new information, which will be quite critical to our assessment, it will include an update to the pipeline routing for several portions of the Metro Vancouver region. I think the lack of certainty in the routing makes it virtually impossible to assess the impacts on our utility infrastructure, our planned construction projects, as well as our regional parks.”

Metro Vancouver and the FVRD join the provincial government, Burnaby, Vancouver, Langley Township, and BC Green party MLA Andrew Weaver who have all filed with the NEB to compel Kinder Morgan to cough up pipeline answers.

Vancouver’s mayor vows to fight to stop the Trans-Mountain pipeline

The mayor of Vancouver has officially kicked off his re-election campaign ahead of this November’s municipal elections.

Despite his critics railing against city hall over being developer friendly and for a lack of consulting with the public, Robertson says he is proud of the Vision Vancouver track record.

While he touts a drop in crime, and a thriving city economy Robertson says he will lay out some new platform planks.

“Transit is a big priority for this next term. And getting the Broadway subway going is going to be a key piece. Affordable housing and solving homelessness will remain a real high priority but that is a big challenge we just have to keep making steady progress on that.”

Robertson also came out swinging against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountail pipeline proposal.

“I think there is real opportunities for Vancouver in the future but we also have to stave off the threats like the Kinder Morgan pipeline with seven times the oil tankers in our port. That is a big risk for our city that I am going to fight hard to stop. We are not hearing any resistence to that from the NPA and that is a big concern.”

Robertson says no amount of money spent, or safety assurances given, from the oil giant will convince him to support the pipeline.

“The bottom line is oil spills happen. They are happening all over the world on a regular basis. Vancouver is not the place where we can withstand the threat of an oil spill. the damage that, that would have on our city’s economy and environment would be massive. We can’t put that at risk for a project that has enormous threats.”

Robertson says the National Energy Board’s review process is “brutal” and is cutting hundreds of people out of the process.

“Anything that excludes people from public consultation is a problem. We are seeing hundreds of people excluded. We are also seeing the process change to prevent cross examination of Kinder Morgan officials. There will be very limited opportunities to really get at the core issues for this proposal.”

The city of Vancouver is one of 400 granted intervenor status at the National Energy Board review hearings into the Kinder Morgan proposal.

More intervenors unhappy with Kinder Morgan

Two more municipal governments have joined a growing list of intervenors in the Trans-Mountain review hearings who are unhappy with the answers they are getting from Kinder Morgan.

Langley Township mayor Jack Froese says they have filed with the National Energy Board to try and compel Kinder Morgan to answer questions on costing.

“When they lay the pipes, or even before that, they need to have agreements with all the different utility companies. A memorandum of understanding with all the utility companies and the Township of Langley and there is a cost to that. We wanted to be sure that we were going to be covered for those costs and we haven’t been getting answers on that.”

Froese says there are other issues but potential costs to local taxpayers tops the list.

“One of the bigger concerns was that we didn’t want to be hung with the bill. There is a lot of information and we want to make sure it is safe for the environment, safe for the residents, and that everything is looked after, and that we do get some way of paying for this because we will incur more costs.”

In Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan says Kinder Morgan failed to answer 62% of the 1700 the city submitted as intervenor questions.

Mayor Derek Corrigan calls many of the responses they did get back “meaningless”.

Burnaby, which openly opposes the pipeline, says Kinder Morgan refused to answer questions about plans to isolate or shut down the pipeline in a worst case spill scenario.

The municipality also said Kinder Morgan refused to provide an oil risk assessment, wouldn’t say if they studied other routes for the pipeline, or say how many Burnaby specific jobs the pipeline would create.

Corrigan also said it was infuriating to hear Kinder Morgan saying it is providing intervenors “robust responses” and defending not providing some answers because they may be “market sensitive” or “would be a security risk to release.”

Burnaby also asked Kinder Morgan for its Emergency Response plan but mayor Derek Corrigan says the city was told it must meet five conditions to see the plan including signing a confidentiality agreement and unconditionally agreeing to take part in any emergency response something Corrigan described as “absurd.”

Both Langley and Burnaby have joined the city of Vancouver, BC Green party MLA Andrew Weaver, and the BC Government in officially asking the NEB to compel Kinder Morgan to cough up answers.