3 Canadian Coast Guard communication centres closing in B.C.

The federal government is moving ahead with plans to close three Canadian Coast Guard communications centres on the West Coast.

According to union spokesperson Scott Hodge, staff received notices last week confirming the closures.

The Tofino centre, which is actually located in nearby Ucluelet, will close April 21. Vancouver’s — at 555 West Hastings Street — will cease operations May 6 and the Comox centre will shut down sometime in early 2016.

The closures are part of a plan announced in 2012 to reorganize Coast Guard operations, including the controversial closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.

Altogether 10 communication centres will be shut down across Canada, leaving a total of 12 nationwide.

Consolidated operations

The marine communication centres are responsible for listening for distress calls and guiding ships, much like air traffic controllers at airports.

On the West Coast the communications operations will be consolidated at upgraded centres in Victoria and Prince Rupert.

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Coast guard spokesperson Michele Boriel said the upgraded centres will enhance operational effectiveness.

“Equipment will be more reliable, service disruptions will be reduced, and coverage will remain exactly as it is today because the network of radio and radar towers across Canada will not change.

Boriel notes in the 1990’s new technology allowed the coast guard to reduce the number of communications centres from 44 to 22 nationally.

‘Blind spots’ concern union

Nevertheless, Unifor Local 2182 spokesperson Scott Hodge said he’s worried about what this means for monitoring Burrard Inlet.

“In Vancouver for instance, the traffic centre is located on the harbour. They have radar coverage in most of the harbour. There are blind spots in the radar, but when you view out the window you can see the entire harbour,” he said.

“Once the centres move to Victoria, that’ll be lost.”

Staff at the Comox and Vancouver centre will be transferred to Victoria, while staff at the Tofino centre will be transferred to Prince Rupert.

Hodge is also concerned about the noise in the larger centres.

“You have people talking all the time. If you can imagine a 911 centre in a party line, and what that would be like trying to listen for adult conversation going on for the one person in trouble,” he said.

Kinder Morgan defends spill plan secrecy

Kinder Morgan Canada will provide details of its emergency response plans directly to governments and first responders, but on the condition the information be kept private, said company president Ian Anderson.

The National Energy Board (NEB) ruled that the company is not required to make the emergency plan for its Trans Mountain pipeline public as part of the review process for its expansion proposal.

The company has been roundly criticized by opponents of the project, including the City of Burnaby, for not releasing the plans already.

Anderson said in a conference call with media recently that the information will be provided outside the NEB process to those parties needing it. Those parties will also be consulted in the process to update the plan to reflect an expanded system.

“Clearly, our interest would be in dealing with municipalities and first responders to provide them the information they need in order to undertake their due diligence and their response capabilities as necessary,” Anderson said.

“And therefore they would have be, one, an affected community by our operations, two, they would have to agree to keep those plans private within their city or municipality and not post them publicly for the same reasons that we’re not posting those details publicly.”

Anderson was speaking in a conference call to announce the company has filed responses to the latest round of information requests from intervenors, 5,600 in all.

“This round, the requests that we got, we believe were more relevant than the first round and we made a lot of effort to provide complete responses to intervenors as appropriate,” he said. “Having said that, there will be some information requests that were not within the scope of the hearing and we have said as much in our responses.”

The latest round of questions brings the total of questions asked to over 16,000. If necessary, intervenors have an opportunity to appeal to the NEB to request that the company be more responsive to their inquiries, Anderson noted.

“I think what parties will find is that the responses this round are very full and very complete.”

Anderson noted that Kinder Morgan’s emergency response plans for Washington state were released publicly by that state’s department of ecology.

“That has caused a bit of confusion,” he said.

“I think I want to reinforce we in no way want to have this perceived lack of transparency around our emergency response plans as any indication of us wanting to hide anything or keep anything a secret.”

There are “very real security concerns” in making the plans public, particularly the locations of critical valves and access points.

The broader issue is a need for industry and the regulator in Canada to define “who should get what how and when and for what purpose?” Anderson explained.

Due to security issues in the U.S., the protocol around how such plans are released is already well established unlike in Canada, he said.

“Those bridges have been crossed down there more so than up here and we’re committed to ensuring it happens here as well.”

Kinder Morgan will lead an industry effort to ensure a similar protocol is set up on this side of the border “so the public can be comforted that there’s no secrets, that nothing’s being hidden but that security of the infrastructure and the public can still be maintained.”

Burnaby-Lougheed NDP MLA Jane Shin, through whose riding the pipeline runs, doesn’t see the public having much comfort so far in the NEB process itself.

The B.C. New Democrats are calling on the province to undertake its own review process in addition to the federal one underway. The pipeline “does go through our parks, our schools and our residences … I think the province has a real right to say what makes sense for us.”

Shin agrees that there are security concerns about the release of all aspects of the emergency plan, but believes those are not details the public is necessarily seeking.

Instead, it’s “the reassurance and the social licence that the plan is acceptable and is done on sound evidence and it does protect the safety and the interests of our public,” Shin said.

Kinder Morgan is proposing to almost triple capacity of the pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby to allow for increased exports of oil sands crude to overseas markets.

On May 26, intervenors are scheduled to begin proving evidence and answer questions posed by the company. Oral arguments are scheduled for September and October. The NEB is expected to provide its recommendation to the federal government, which then will make a final decision within three months.

If the project is approved, Anderson said, construction would start in the summer of 2016 and the pipeline would be in service by September 2018.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

Kinder Morgan leaves half of Vancouver, Burnaby’s pipeline questions unanswered

Cities’ mayors call on National Energy Board to force pipeline company to address issues

Kinder Morgan has failed to answer almost half of the questions posed by the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby on the company’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion into B.C.
In a statement issued Friday, the City of Vancouver states that Kinder Morgan has failed to answer 291 of nearly 600 questions submitted by them through the National Energy Board (NEB), and 315 of the 688 questions submitted by Burnaby.

The more than 1200 questions submitted by the two municipalities covered a broad range of issues connected to Kinder Morgan’s 15,000-page proposal, including those covering job creation levels, climate change and emergency response plans.

“Because the city has very significant questions that focus on the hundreds of ways in which Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline and tank farm would threaten our city and region’s safety, security and livability, we again asked Kinder Morgan to provide answers,” Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan said in the statement.

“Unfortunately – but not surprisingly – Kinder Morgan has again failed to show respect for our citizens’ questions by refusing to answer almost half.”

Redacted safety plan

Vancouver and Burnaby say they will continue to call on the NEB to force Kinder Morgan to address these outstanding issues.

Just last week, Kinder Morgan defended its decision to only provide a heavily redacted version of its emergency spill response plan.

The company is seeking approval from the NEB to nearly triple the capacity of the existing pipeline. The $5.4 billion project would twin the existing pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.

The National Energy Board (NEB) ruled in favour of Kinder Morgan’s redacted plan in January.

“In this instance, the board is satisfied that sufficient information has been filed from the existing EMP [Emergency Management Plan] documents to meet the board’s requirements at this stage in the process,” the decision read.

At that time, Premier Christy Clark said Kinder Morgan hadn’t met the five conditions set out by the province, and until that happened, it wouldn’t be going ahead with the project.

Canada's-Economic-Implosion

Crude Awakening: How the Keystone Veto Dashes Canada’s ‘Superpower’ Dreams

Oil prices are crashing and Obama has vetoed Keystone XL. Will Canada double down on its dirty tar sands?

Canada's-Economic-ImplosionBarack Obama’s veto of Keystone XL has placed the export pipeline for Canadian tar-sands crude on its deathbed. Earlier in February, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Keystone could spur 1.37 billion tons of excess carbon emissions — providing the State Department with all the scientific evidence required to spike the project, permanently. If the news has cheered climate activists across the globe, it also underscored the folly of Canada’s catastrophic quest, in recent years, to transform itself into a dirty-energy “superpower.”

SIDEBAR
Big Oil’s Big Lies About Alternative Energy »

In the minds of many American right-wingers, Canada may be a socialist hell-scape of universal health care and quasi-European welfare policies. But it is also home to 168 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the third-largest in the world. Since ultraconservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper — famously described by one Canadian columnist as “our version of George W. Bush, minus the warmth and intellect” — took power in 2006, he’s quietly set his country on a course that seems to be straight from the Koch brothers’ road map. Harper, 55, has gutted environmental regulation and fast-tracked colossal projects to bring new oil to market. Under his leadership, Canada has also slashed corporate taxes and is eliminating 30,000 public-sector jobs.

Riding record-high oil prices,–$107 a barrel as recently as last June,–Harper’s big bet on Canadian crude appeared savvy. The oil boom had driven a seven percent surge in national income, helping Canada ride out the Great Recession with less anguish than most developed nations. And with fossil fuels swelling to nearly 40 percent of net exports, Harper’s Conservative government was on track to deliver a Tea Party twofer in advance of federal elections this fall: a budget surplus and a deep tax cut for the country’s richest earners.

But today, with the price of oil cut in half, the Canadian economy is staggering. Tar-sands producers have clawed back billions in planned investments and begun axing jobs by the thousands. The Canadian dollar, recently at parity with the U.S. dollar, has dipped to about 80 cents. Instead of a federal budget surplus, economists are now projecting a C$2.3 billion deficit. “The drop in oil prices,” said Stephen Poloz, the nation’s central banker, in January, “is unambiguously negative for the Canadian economy.”

If low oil prices hold, the pain will get worse. Most of Canada’s reserves are locked up in tar sands. The industrial operations required to get the oil from the ground to your gas tank are not only filthy and energy-intensive — generating up to double the greenhouse emissions of conventional oil — they also take years of construction to bring online. Because of investment decisions made during the boom years, tar-sands production is projected to expand by seven percent this year, exacerbating the glut. The collapse of crude is threatening to take Harper’s nearly decade-long rule down with it. Canada’s Liberal party, headed by 43-year-old Justin Trudeau (son of legendary Canadian PM Pierre), is running neck and neck in the polls, and bashing Harper where he used to be strongest — his management of the economy. “It’s not fiscally responsible,” said Trudeau in January, “to pin all your hopes on oil prices remaining high, and when they fall, being forced to make it up as they go along.”

As we, in the United States, consider the fate of our own massive oil reserves and confront the specter of yet another Bush presidency, Stephen Harper’s Canada offers a cautionary tale — about the economic and political havoc that can be unleashed when a first-world nation yokes itself to Tea Party economics and to the boom and bust of Big Oil.

Stephen Harper came of age in Alberta, a land of cowboys and oil rigs sometimes referred to as “Texas of the North.” He began his career in the mailroom of Imperial Oil (today an offshoot of Exxon). He rose through Parliament promising a revolution in federal affairs under the battle cry “The West wants in!” Following his election to prime minister in 2006, he wasted little time unveiling his plan to open up his nation’s vast oil reserves.

Read more…

Prince Charles: We must treat our planet like a sick patient

The Prince of Wales today called for us all to treat our planet like a sick patient.

In a keynote speech, he also urged health practitioners to be bolder about highlighting the links between the effects of climate change on clean air, water and our wellbeing.

Prince Charles –who for decades has used his unique position to champion action for a sustainable future–—told the Royal Society in London, ““Protect the health of the planet, protect our health. Actions which are good for the planet are also good for human health.

““Taking a more active approach to transport by walking and cycling and adopting healthy diets reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also reduce rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer and more –saving lives and money.

‘“Reductions in air pollution also result, with separate and additional benefits to human health. A healthy planet and healthy people are two sides of the same coin.””

The future King’’s strong intervention, at a joint event involving his International Sustainability Unit and the World Health Organisation, came after he and the Duchess of Cornwall made a historic visit to the London Evening Standard newsroom today.

The royal couple were met by owner Evgeny Lebedev and editor Sarah Sands, who escorted them on a tour of our Kensington headquarters –the first time a future King and Queen Consort have made an official visit to the Standard since it was founded in 1827.

Mr Lebedev said, ““We are all very privileged that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited our newsroom today.

““It is a reminder of how engaged he is with the country he serves and of how the London Evening Standard is central to the lives of everyone in the capital, including our future monarch.””

Editor Sarah Sands said, ““It is an honour to welcome their Royal Highnesses to the Evening Standard.

““The fact that they have taken time to visit us demonstrates their keen interest in what is happening in London today.,”

Clarence House said, “”During the usual course of their engagements, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall wanted to visit their local newspaper as it went to press.””

During the visit Charles praised our Homeless Veterans fundraising campaign. He recalled there was a rise in the numbers of veterans needing help after the Falklands war and voiced concern that the same may happen after the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts as more service personnel require treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Today’’s Royal Society event brought together health ministers, senior civil servants, health professionals and civil society organisations to discuss climate change, health and forthcoming negotiations involving the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21.

The Prince said in his speech, ““Those negotiations taking place in December provide perhaps our last opportunity to set targets that will keep the world to below two degrees of warming.””

He highlighted his delight that a meeting hosted by his International Sustainability Unit in December 2013, to help forge a consensus on the critical importance of the health sector talking with a coherent voice on this issue, has encouraged others to speak up.

““Five years ago The Lancet’s commission on climate change described it as ‘the greatest threat to human health of the 21st century’,”” he said. “”This warning has been echoed worldwide.””

The visit to our Kensington headquarters this morning will be listed as an official engagement.

It will be reported in the Court Circular, the authoritative, historical record of official engagements of members of the Royal Family. Climate change is also expected to be one of the main themes of Prince Charles’’s visit to the US next month, when he and the Duchess will meet President Obama at the White House.

While in America, the heir to the throne will also be honoured by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation with an award for exceptional leadership in conservation.

Child Safety, Zoning By-laws and the Oil Industry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Burnaby: December 31, 2012

Residents of Burnaby call on Mayor Derek Corrigan to scrap city by-laws that allow schools, daycares and residential developments to be built near refineries, oil tanks, substations and pipelines. The risk of leaks and spills of combustible oil and carcinogenic gases is unacceptable and should have never been allowed.

Elsie Dean of BROKE says, “We should not have to wait for a major catastrophe before we act. Schools and daycares should never have been built near oil facilities in the first place and we need to ensure that they never will again. Like gun control, we should be thinking about laws to protect children before a crisis occurs. Schools and housing developments must be protected from carcinogenic and combustible gases.”

The potential health risks to children in schools near or adjacent to oil pipelines is underlined by the tragedy in Fallon, Nevada. A lawsuit launched by a Nevada mother against Kinder Morgan alleges that the company failed to adequately monitor and repair a pipeline that was leaking jet fuel beneath a school playground and that the leak contributed to a cluster of childhood cancer cases at the school and the death of one child.

There are warnings about noxious gases strategically placed throughout the areas where tank farms, oil pipelines and substations have been allowed. Yet schools like Burnaby North Senior, and Forest Grove and Seaforth Elementary sit close to, or below, major oil facilities. Others like Stoney Creek and Lyndhurst Elementary and a YMCA childcare center sits just meters from both highly combustible jet fuel and heavy oil pipelines that carry a soup of toxic chemicals.

There have been major spills and leaks near these and other schools, daycares and residences throughout the years 2007 , 2008 , 2009 and 2010 . All have required an emergency response and evacuations, costing tax payers thousands of dollars. In January 2012, residences and a private school also had to be closed in Sumas.

Tax payers have always borne the costs associated with emergency response, including evacuations and medical care resulting from oil pipeline failure, oil spills and noxious gases from tank farms and substations.

Commenting on the cost to tax payers, Elsie Dean makes the point that “The companies that are found responsible for spills and oil pipeline ruptures should pay not only for clean up, but for all emergency response and medical care as well. The cost to tax payers of emergencies has not been factored into the expense of oil pipelines, tank farms, and sub-stations. Nor have the costs of routine air monitoring near the oil refinery on Burrard Inlet. When Kinder Morgan promises a few million in tax payments, it should be balanced against the hidden costs to tax payers of maintaining a huge oil infrastructure in Burnaby.”

In response to the concern about children’s health in schools and daycares near oil infrastructure, BROKE calls on all levels of government as well as the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to recommend that oil industries should not be zoned near schools, daycares and residences and that all measures must be employed to separate dangerous industries from homes and schools. Children’s safety should be the first priority for every level of government.

– 30 –

For more information please email info@brokepipelinewatch.ca

1. The Burnaby Teacher’s Association has already passed a resolution on December 4, 2012 to demand the Burnaby school district monitor oil pipelines for leaks and develop comprehensive evacuations plans for schools near tank farms, refineries and substations.
2. Kinder Morgan plead guilty to negligence in the 2007 pipeline rupture and found negligent by the National Energy Board in the 2012 incident.
3. http://www.mynews4.com/news/local/story/fallon-cancer-cluster/–P1ofP56UqVNbV3tPtJDg.cspx

SLAPP Suit Resources (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation)

In November 2014, hundreds protested daily for weeks on Burnaby Mountain against the Kinder Morgan (KM) pipeline expansion, and over 100 were arrested. KM launched lawsuits against five individuals and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE) claiming huge damages.

Below are a number of links to informative articles and other documents about that case and about SLAPP suits in general.

 

Financial Clout v. Right to Speak Out

Kinder Morgan v. Freedom of Speech

BC Pipeline-Protest Case Shows How Lawsuits Threaten Democratic Voices

How should we slap back at SLAPPs?

Lessons from a fish farm defamation lawsuit

Kim Benson

The West Coast Environmental Law SLAPP Handbook

Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic

Strategic lawsuit against public participation

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation: The British Columbia Experience

Washington State can view spill-response plans for pipeline that B.C. cannot

Washington State has documents outlining emergency response plans for a Kinder Morgan pipeline –plans similar to those British Columbians have been told by Canada’’s National Energy Board they’’re not allowed to see due to security concerns.

The B.C. government lost a battle with the National Energy Board in January to have greater access to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline emergency response plan (ERP). Kinder Morgan had already provided B.C. with a version of the plan, but significant portions were blacked out.

The denied information included specific response times, valve locations, and evacuation zone maps. The government had argued it needed the entire plan to be able to understand Kinder Morgan’’s ability to respond to an oil spill. The proposed $6.5-billion Trans Mountain expansion would twin the pipeline and triple the capacity for Alberta oil intended for Asian markets.

But in Washington State–where the pipeline would cross through to Puget Sound–Kinder Morgan has provided a more comprehensive response plan.

NDP environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert wants to know why a similarly detailed plan isn’’t available for B.C. residents.

““We need to be able to get at least the information they are providing in Washington State,”” he said.

The U.S. plan includes information on response timelines, the availability of emergency equipment near specific pipeline sections, and a list of companies that could help out after an oil spill.

In one example, a company called BakerCorp is identified as being able to deliver “”21,000 gallon tanks to a spill site within 12 hours,”” and having enough pumps and hose to remove 6,300 gallons of oil per minute.

Yet in B.C., the energy board rejected B.C.’s demand for a complete response plan, citing sensitive information that could cause ““security concerns.””

A link to the Washington State ERP was available online recently at DeSmog Canada, but has since been deactivated by state officials.

The emergency plans were only to be online between Jan. 9 and Feb. 9 during a public consultation, said Scott Zimmerman from the Washington State Department of Ecology, but they were accidentally left up until Feb.18.

The U.S. plan details further information about “”unique”” sections of the pipeline. These include the location of shutoff valves, areas where the pipeline crosses water, peak volumes, and the thickness of pipeline walls.

In the event of an emergency, 48-hour timelines are also presented for each section of the pipeline, with descriptions of the type of equipment and number of people needed–as well as how much oil could be recovered immediately after a spill.

On the Samish River – a location identified as “”Zone 3,”” about 40 kilometres south of Bellingham-Kinder Morgan, estimated it could have 18 people and 600 metres of containment boom available within two hours of a spill.

A spokesman with the B.C. Mines Ministry did not respond directly when asked for an opinion on the plan’’s availability in Washington State.

But the B.C. government has been aware since last year that a version of the plan was available to the Americans. B.C. argued in its motion to the NEB asking for the public release of the information that keeping it secret in B.C. is ““inexplicable.””

It “”calls into serious question the legitimacy of Trans Mountain’s claim,”” reads the B.C. government motion.

In the same motion, the province said history showed the possibility of a spill from Trans Mountain facilities.

“”The potential for devastating effects on the environment, human health, and local economies is irrefutable,”” it said.

In 2007, a spill released about 1,500 barrels of oil in a Burnaby neighbourhood, with 440 barrels flowing into the Burrard Inlet.

Citigroup to invest $100bn in tackling climate change

Citigroup, the third largest US financial institution, on Wednesday said it will invest a whopping $100bn over the next decade to reduce the impacts of climate change. The bank said it will use the money the finance green initiatives and sustainable growth.

The global financial corporation’’s CEO Michael Corbat made the announcement at a breakfast gathering of stakeholders, employees and partner organizations in New York.

The money will be used to finance large, renewable-energy projects, for example, to aid greener affordable housing and to finance municipal infrastructure to reduce water waste and more, says Valerie Smith, director of corporate sustainability at Citigroup.

It will also be used to help Citigroup reduce the environmental impacts of its global operations and supply chain, and to help its clients address environmental risks, according to Corbat’s prepared statement.

This isn’’t the first time Citigroup has committed money to tackling climate change. The company in 2007 set a similar goal of making $50bn in green investments by 2016, a goal which it met three years early. Now it is doubling down.

Sustainability is good business

In the last few years, several large banks have set similar investment goals. Bank of America and Wells Fargo both committed $50bn for financing sustainable initiatives and green transport in 2013, for example. It adds up to real money.

But some industry insiders question whether all the new money for sustainable investments is enough to defray the environmental damage from banks’’ investments in coal and other fossil fuels. Citibank also is still active in the coal market, although it has said coal is “”in structural decline”.”

It’’s no secret that banks are in business to make money. This slew of environmental commitments is interesting because it underlines that sustainability is in high demand.

Citigroup’’s Smith confirmed that the company’’s announcement comes in the face of immense client demand for sustainable investing: ““You probably can follow the chain. Our clients are demanding it, our clients’ clients are demanding it, our clients’ investors are demanding it. There is a momentum and focus on solving big global societal problems that everybody is rallying to.””

In addition to investing decisions being driven by sustainability metrics, there is a business case for investing in instruments such as green bonds.

““The business case is that we are at the inflection point of the greatest transition in human history from a fossil-fuel-based economy to a clean economy,”” says Andrew Behar, the CEO of As You Sow, a nonprofit promoting environmental and social corporate responsibility.

The World Economic Forum estimates this transition will require $1tn in investments each year for the next 20 years, Behar says.

““Investors are looking at this and going, ‘‘I want to be a part of this,'”’” he said. “”Look at a municipal bond, they’’re going to want to change their streetlights to LEDs, why? Sustainable electricity. Why would they want to put solar on their roofs? [So] they can lock in 20-year rates. It’’s the economics now. It’’s not just about wanting to save the planet.””

A strong signal to clients

The business case, he agrees, provides the context for banks’’ new strategies. “”They’’ve seen the demand and are stepping up and providing the products,”” he said.

According to Behar, the larger movement towards sustainable investment was prompted at least in part by the Valdez Principles, instituted by sustainable business nonprofit Ceres after the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989.

The 10-point code directs corporations, amongst other things, to better inform the public and establish audits and reports on their environmental impact. The availability of metrics coupled with the larger transition of energy systems makes this the time for financial institutions to keep pace.

“”We’’ve been starting to see that the smarter investment people are getting ahead of the curve and making sure that there’’s enough capital to make this transition,”” Behar said.

Citi’’s new ambitious goals were based on the lessons learned from its previous targets, Smith said. “”This strategy and the goals are related with the fact in mind that we saw activity increase much more than we expected with our previous $50bn finance goals.””

The finance hub is funded by EY. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled “brought to you by”. Find out more here.

Despite Kinder ruling, NEB wants pipeline emergency response plans made public

The National Energy Board wants companies in Canada to make their emergency response plans public for existing pipelines, even though it has ruled Kinder Morgan can keep its plans secret from British Columbians.

“Our chairman is not very happy. Canadians deserve to have that information,” said Darin Barter, a spokesperson for the NEB.

“There’s a public will for that information, and industry needs to find a way to make it public.”

Companies are not required to disclose their emergency response plans under Canadian law. Barter said the board is not calling for a legislative change, but for a commitment from industry to be more transparent.

He said chairman Peter Watson sent a letter on Feb. 5 about the issue to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. A spokesman for the association said it received the letter and will be discussing how to meet the NEB’s expectations.

But during a conference call on Feb. 20 Kinder Morgan maintained it is not required to release further details of its emergency response plan after the NEB agreed that sensitive security details could be at risk.

Details of the company’s spill response plan in Washington State have been publicly posted online.

The decision to keep the plans secret in B.C. has prompted the provincial government to call for more transparency around Kinder Morgan’’s ability to respond to a potential oil spill. The proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion would twin the pipeline and triple the capacity for Alberta oil intended for Asian markets.

Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada, addressed the issue on Friday.

““National security and public safety reasons made it prudent to keep aspects of the plan confidential and private,”” he said.

But Green MLA Andrew Weaver thinks the company should fully disclose the details of its plans. Especially, he said, considering that Washington State–where sections of the Trans Mountain pipeline cross into–already has a much more detailed plan than B.C.

““I do not understand what the security element is,”” he said, “If it’s okay for the US to have the full version, I don’t know why B.C. can’t have it?””

Still, Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior intelligence officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), said security is a concern.

Information about valve locations and access points could fall into the hands of environmental extremists, who could potentially use it for sabotage, he said. He believes the The NEB was right to keep aspects of the emergency plan a secret.

Acts of sabotage have occurred in the past, said Mr. Juneau-Katsua, citing incidents like the 2008 bombings that targeted gas pipelines near Dawson Creek, B.C.

“If someone lost their life because an extremist wanted to demonstrate against a pipeline–that would be absolutely unacceptable,”” he said.

Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, who works with the Washington State Department of Ecology, said that state officials discussed the security concerns associated with publicly available plans, but ultimately ruled on the side of transparency.

“Pipeline advocates hold us up as an example that others should follow,”” she said, “”but industry gets uncomfortable with the level of information we make available.””

Mr. Juneau-Katsuya, who believes pipelines do pose security concerns, was shocked to hear that Washington State makes their plans public.

““I’’m very surprised,”” he said, ““They might actually expose themselves as a target.””

The NEB will make a decision next January about whether the Trans Mountain pipeline should be approved. The federal government will then make a final decision approximately three months after.

With a report from The Canadian Press