Kinder Morgan, the NEB and our rights

Residents of Burnaby and the Lower Mainland are opposed to Kinder Morgan’s (KM) proposed pipeline expansion project, from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby, which would pose significant health and environmental risks to our community while bringing very few benefits by way of jobs or revenue.

This past week, KM began performing surveys in parkland adjacent to Burnaby Mountain, in preparation for geotechnical testing related to the possibility of boring a tunnel through the western section of mountain for their proposed tar sands pipeline. KM also intends to build a helicopter landing pad on the mountain.

The City of Burnaby opposes the pipeline project and has denied the company a permit for the work. In response, KM submitted a request to the National Energy Board (NEB) to confirm their rights to access City of Burnaby public lands. The NEB ruled that federal legislation gives Kinder Morgan the power to enter and conduct surveys and tests on any Crown or private land that lies on their intended pipeline routes. The City has filed a constitutional challenge, saying the route would go against municipal bylaws.

The NEB dismissed the challenge, but did not, however, grant an access order to KM, which officials with the City of Burnaby are interpreting as leaving them able to continue to enforce their bylaws.

“In their response, the National Energy Board did not deny our assertion. Instead, they merely offered an interpretation of Section 73a of the National Energy Board Act. We will, therefore, continue to enforce our bylaws, ensuring that Kinder Morgan does not access Burnaby parkland and the Brunette Conservation area on which they want to perform deleterious actions that would contravene the laws put in place by our City and citizens to protect our parkland,” Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan said.

“The NEB refused to address the City of Burnaby’s constitutional question,” said Burnaby’s legal counsel, Greg McDade, QC. “By refusing to grant an access order, they ignored the question completely, meaning that Kinder Morgan still cannot access Burnaby’s land without the City’s permission.”

The NEB Act does not empower the Board to make orders that override municipal jurisdiction or bylaws. Local citizens are now mobilizing to express our opposition to allowing KM access to our public lands in preparation for building their proposed pipeline expansion.

The answer is “NO”. Please join us! Burnaby Mountain, September 13 at 2:00 PM

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