Impact of a Fraser River oil spill

Re: Fraser River oil spill: 5 years to recover, Sept. 10

In its study on the environmental impact of a spill of 1.25 million litres of diluted bitumen into the Fraser River, Kinder Morgan compared the spill to the 2010 spill of diluted bitumen in the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

That spill is still not cleaned up properly after four years and $1 billion. Experts say only 5-15 per cent of dilbit can ever be cleaned up. The damage to marine life on the ocean floor, river banks and shoreline is irreversible. Large areas of ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico are devoid of marine life since the spill there in 2010. The combination of oil and the dispersant used to contain the oil have produced tumours in the shrimp. What would happen to our salmon?

In the Kalamazoo spill, chemicals from the diluted bitumen vaporized. Many people were evacuated for up to three weeks. They experienced nausea, vomiting, nosebleeds, headaches, coughing and dizziness. The long term effects of the benzene, toluene, hydrogen sulphide and other chemicals need to be fully evaluated and studied.

According to Kinder Morgan documents, there is about a 34 per cent chance of a spill in Burrard Inlet within the next 10 years.

We do not have adequate information regarding this potential spill and the impact to the environment and to the people who live around the inlet. The possibility of a worst case spill in Vancouver harbour from the increased tanker traffic is a serious health and environmental issue that Kinder Morgan has failed to adequately address in the application.

How can the people approve a project without the data necessary to evaluate it?

JANICE EDMONDS, North Vancouver

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