The City of Vancouver has published its April 14th report on the oil spill in English Bay, including information about the composition of the spill, its likely origin, the map of its spread and a timeline of key events:
Mike Cotter, the General Manager of the Jericho Sailing Centre, says James Moore and other BC Tory MPs are being fed misinformation from Coast Guard brass who say Kits Base wouldn’t have been a factor in the English Bay fuel spill response.
I know it to be absolutely false. I witnessed them responding to spills. I was familiarized with the environmental emergency response equipment they had. I was onboard their vessel. They had a dedicated pollution response vessel.
Cotter says the logs and records from Kits Base should be made public.
They will clearly show that, that vessel was based there. They will clearly show the crews had training. The ships logs will also show they responded to spills.
I’ve been working on NEB issues, and yesterday gave a talk on Pender about
tanker risks. As part of this talk, I made a couple of graphics, below, to
share the fact that Kinder Morgan would PROFIT from an oil $pill on the BC
coast, through their ownership in both the primary terrestrial and marine
oil spill response corporations in Western Canada. They are in a DIRECT
conflict of interest.
Lil Cameron had the feeling something was up when she saw surveyors out on Government Street on Wednesday.
That was followed on Thursday morning in the same area by a crew using unmarked vehicles. They were spray painting orange blotches every few feet on the ivy covering the concrete retaining wall that borders the Halston Hills Housing Co-operative where she lives.
Cameron approached City of Burnaby workers who were working on a fire hydrant nearby and asked what was going on at the wall. They said, Its not us, its Kinder Morgan.
Social Science Research Network
Craig Forcese University of Ottawa – Common Law Section
Kent Roach University of Toronto – Faculty of Law
Leah Sherriff University of Toronto
February 27, 2015
Canada’s system of national security “oversight” is imperfect. Its system of national security “review” is frayed, perhaps to the breaking point. The government’s anti-terrorism law, bill C-51, will accelerate this pattern. Without a serious course correction, we risk the prospect of avertable security service scandals.
There is often a misunderstanding about the distinction between ”oversight” and ”review.”
In Canadian practice, oversight is usually an executive branch function. This system has not always worked the Air India Commission suggested (and the government rejected) new centralized oversight systems for reconciling competing national security interests.
C-51 does not introduce new reforms in this area. The government instead points to judicial warrants authorizing the new CSIS powers a form of oversight. But this is, at best, a partial form of oversight. CSIS will not always require warrants. Judges will issue warrants in secret proceeding in which only the government side is represented. Nor will they always know what is then done in their name. There is no formal ”feedback” loop between CSIS and the judge concerning the execution of the warrant, a key concern where (as with CSIS warrants) the conduct is covert and the warrant never disclosed.
C. Ruby , N. R. Hasan
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
February 17, 2015
Bill C-51: A Legal Primer
by Clayton Ruby and Nader R. Hasan
Six Muslim young adults stand in front of a mosque late at night in heated discussion in some foreign language. They may be debating the merits of a new Drake album. They may be talking about video games, or sports, or girls, or advocating the overthrow of the Harper government. Who knows? There is no evidence one way or the other. Just stereotypes. But the new standard for arrest and detention – reason to suspect that they may commit an act – is so low that an officer may be inclined to arrest and detain them in order to investigate further. And now, officers will no longer need to ask themselves whether the arrest is necessary. They could act on mere suspicion that an arrest is likely to prevent any terrorist activity. Yesterday, the Muslim men were freely exercising constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Today they are arrestable.
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.
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.
Tories defend Kits Coast Guard closure
Coast Guard maintains rescue closures aren’t dangerous
Coast Guard closures could overload Halifax centre
Iqaluit coast guard office to monitor entire Arctic
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 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.
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 Morgans proposed pipeline and tank farm would threaten our city and regions 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 boards 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.
Oil prices are crashing and Obama has vetoed Keystone XL. Will Canada double down on its dirty tar sands?
Barack 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.”
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.