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.

Burnaby wants details on Kinder Morgan advertising

City submits motion to NEB for info on costs of ads

by Jennifer Moreau

The City of Burnaby is taking aim at Kinder Morgan’s pro-pipeline advertising campaign and questioning whether consumers will end up paying for the publicity.

The city filed a motion Thursday with the National Energy Board asking for several things, including details on how Kinder Morgan is funding its ad campaign, and whether the money is coming from extra “firm service” shipping fees approved by the National Energy Board.

“It’s a bad policy, regardless of what aspect of the project proposal the fees are paying for. But if these federal government-sanctioned shipping fees are funding Kinder Morgan’s current multi-million-dollar ad campaign, it would be particularly inappropriate,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said in a media release. “We want to know whether or not some of these ‘‘firm service fees’’ are being used to pay for the cost of Kinder Morgan’s advertising that is clearly nothing more than an attempt to improve their tainted corporate image.”

A couple years ago, the National Energy Board gave Kinder Morgan permission to charge some of its Westridge Marine Terminal customers firm service fees averaging an extra $1.45 per barrel of oil. Those fees total roughly $29 million annually, according to Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada. The money is used to offset the pipeline expansion’s development costs, so if the project is rejected, there is no risk to investors.

Robyn Allan, former CEO of ICBC, cried foul and suggested those costs would ultimately be passed onto consumers. Anderson refuted her argument in a letter to the Burnaby NOW last July, saying the oil will sell at a higher prices overseas.

Allan maintains that will drive up crude costs in Canada, and refineries will pass those costs onto consumers.

The city is asking the NEB to step in and issue orders to obtain Kinder Morgan’s projected advertising costs and details on how they are funded, as well as an order to make sure Kinder Morgan’s firm service fees aren’t used for advertising costs. The city also wants the NEB to order Kinder Morgan to inform the public on the extent of the pipeline expansion and its potential risks and impacts.

In the motion, the city’s lawyer, Greg McDade, notes that some of the advertising has appeared in Burnaby newspapers and had been targeting Burnaby residents.

Scott Stoness, a vice-president with Kinder Morgan Canada, said the company’s advertising campaign is part of Kinder Morgan’s efforts to engage with and provide information to as many British Columbians as possible.

“The information highlights Trans Mountain’s company history, culture, and commitment to safety,” he said in an emailed statement to the NOW. “Consumers are not paying for our advertising, as (the) price of gasoline in the Lower Mainland is mostly dependent on world market prices. Prices paid by local consumers at the pumps are driven by world oil prices, not Alberta oil prices, so any increase in price per-barrel as a result of Alberta producers accessing world markets due to expanded pipelines does not mean higher gasoline prices for locals.”

Stoness explained that many factors affect gas prices, including taxes, refining costs, seasonal fluctuations and general rules of supply and demand.

“The cost of crude oil makes up less than 50 per cent of the ultimate price you pay at the pump,” he said.

City of Burnaby seeking more answers on pipeline

City asks 640 questions in second round of information requests in Kinder Morgan pipeline hearing

by Jennifer Moreau

The City of Burnaby wants more answers on Kinder Morgan’s pipeline plan, but the mayor isn’t getting his hopes up.

Last Thursday, the city filed 200 pages – with 640 questions – in the second round of information requests for the National Energy Board hearing on the plan to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“Based on the disrespect for our questions that Kinder Morgan has demonstrated to date, we are not optimistic about getting meaningful responses,” Mayor Derek Corrigan stated in a media release. “Nevertheless, because it is the only option available to us, we will again try to get answers within the framework of the flawed National Energy Board process through which this proposal is being reviewed.”

The NEB used to allow intervenors to orally cross-examine companies in pipeline hearings, but those questions now have to be put in writing, hence the information requests. The city’s latest questions probe the company’s emergency response plans and the project’s impact on health, safety and the environment.

According to the mayor, 62 per cent of the city’s first list of questions, filed in the initial round of information requests in May last year, went unanswered or only partially answered. The city, along with other intervenors, complained about the non-responses.

“So while this should simply be an opportunity to ask new questions – which we are doing- it has, disappointingly, also become a second attempt to get our first questions answered,” Corrigan said.

The City of Burnaby’s first question relates to Kinder Morgan’s emergency management plan, as the city wants an unredacted copy. On Friday, the NEB released a decision allowing Kinder Morgan to keep parts of overall emergency response program redacted. (See related story here.)

When the NOW contacted Kinder Morgan with questions, the company sent an emailed statement from Scott Stoness, one of Kinder Morgan Canada’s vice-president.

“Jan. 15 was the deadline for information requests as part of the regulatory review, and we will be reviewing all questions, including the (information requests) filed by the City of Burnaby. The questions cover a variety of subjects including safety, security, and emergency and spill response, and many of the questions are very detailed and involved. We welcome the questions from the City of Burnaby. Kinder Morgan is committed to a transparent and full process as has been defined by the NEB. Trans Mountain will answer all questions that fall within the scope of (the) NEB hearing.”

Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver has filed close to 600 questions for Kinder Morgan with similar complaints, that more than one-quarter of its questions from the first round weren’t answered. The provincial government also filed more than 110 pages of questions. Kinder Morgan has until Feb. 18 to respond.

Chevron position on pipeline expansion has changed: Lord

Author
Wanda Chow

While Chevron Canada initially said it hadn’t changed its position on Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion, on further investigation it actually has, says Ray Lord, spokesperson for Chevron’s Burnaby refinery.

Lord contacted the NewsLeader Thursday wanting to acknowledge and clarify the discrepancy.

As reported in the NewsLeader, the change, from a neutral to a supportive stance, is significant because it’s the reason cited by both Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan and Burnaby-Douglas New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart for why they are no longer supporting Chevron at its National Energy Board hearings.

The hearings are for Chevron’s application for a priority destination designation on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to ensure a steady supply of crude oil for its North Burnaby refinery. The company applied for the status last year in response to ongoing supply shortages due to it having to increasingly share capacity on the pipeline with other users. Already it has to bring in crude by tanker truck and is preparing to bring in more by rail.

Both politicians had planned to speak on Chevron’s behalf at the hearings, being held in Calgary over two weeks ending April 5. But with both being outspoken in opposition to the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, they felt it would be hypocritical to support Chevron if it was no longer neutral.

Lord confirmed the company had originally taken a neutral position. He has since learned that back in January it indicated its support for the expansion during hearings for Kinder Morgan’s commercial tolling application, in which it is attempting to set the rate structure for customers on the eventual twinned pipeline.

“Chevron made that decision during the hearing because it felt that it was required to do so as we were challenging the tolls that would potentially be charged and would apply to Chevron on an expanded pipeline if and when it was built,” Lord said in an email.

In short, the company’s representatives at the hearings decided they couldn’t argue as effectively against Kinder Morgan’s proposed rates without acknowledging “the fact that the pipeline [and its rates] would apply to us if the pipeline was ever expanded,” Lord said in an interview.

However, a “miscommunication” resulted in that change in stance not being made clear to staff at the Burnaby refinery, he said.

“We certainly understand the city’s position in opposition to the pipeline expansion, we understand that,” Lord said. “And we certainly understand the withdrawal that the mayor has decided is appropriate for the city to take a stand on.”

He wanted to “set the record straight” and acknowledge that the statements of Corrigan and Stewart on Chevron’s change in position were correct.

“Part of the issue is the realities of the different stakeholder relationships here in Burnaby perhaps aren’t appreciated by the priority destination team as much as they are by us here at the refinery,” he said, “or what the implications of that decision on a change in position might mean in terms of the existing relationships that we’ve established.”

Despite the loss of political support, Chevron’s argument remains the same for its application for priority status on the existing pipeline—it needs a reliable, cost-effective supply of crude to continue its operations, which employ 400 people and provides an annual economic impact to the region of over $70 million spent on local goods and services.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

Mayor, MP no longer supporting Chevron at NEB hearings

Author
Wanda Chow

Chevron Canada can no longer count on the support of Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan or Burnaby-Douglas NDP MP Kennedy Stewart at its National Energy Board (NEB) hearings this week.

The hearings are for Chevron’s application for priority destination status on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to ensure a steady supply of crude oil for its North Burnaby refinery. The company applied for the status last year in response to ongoing supply shortages due to it having to increasingly share capacity on the pipeline with other users.

But while both the mayor and MP are the only politicians granted intervenor status at the hearings, and both planned to speak on Chevron’s behalf, neither now plan to attend.

That’s because at recent NEB hearings for Kinder Morgan’s commercial tolling application for a proposed expansion of the same pipeline, which runs between Edmonton and Burnaby, a Chevron representative indicated that company supports the pipeline twinning.

That was news to both politicians, who have been outspoken critics of the expansion proposal, which is geared towards exporting oil sands crude to overseas markets.

“It’s harder to support [Chevron] now that they’re not neutral,” said Stewart. “I don’t think the community is going to be happy about that [changed stance].”

Corrigan said he had received assurances from Chevron that it was not taking a position on the pipeline expansion.

“I couldn’t have been more disappointed that after having told me they were going to remain neutral they came out in the tolling application and said they were in support of the Kinder Morgan expansion.”

Corrigan stressed that he never asked Chevron to oppose the expansion proposal, but as long as they remained neutral “I thought there was nothing hypocritical about me attending on behalf of the city to say we support their application.”

Calling Chevron’s support of the expansion “gratuitous,” Corrigan said the company “has decided that they want to have it both ways … In essence what they’re saying is we don’t care about the impacts of the pipeline, all we care about is us. And if the solution to us getting what we want is you expanding the pipeline then we’re in favour of that. Well that is not the position the city has taken, the city has taken the position they’re opposed to the pipeline [expansion].”

Burnaby’s position is still that Chevron should get priority status for the crude supply that’s brought in by the existing pipeline.

As for not speaking at the hearings this week, Corrigan said it would have been a lot of effort to testify in Calgary and be cross-examined by Chevron’s opponents on the issue.

“How far am I going to go out of my way in order to try to help Chevron when they’re working at cross-purposes to the city?”

He pointed out that the easiest way for the NEB to give Chevron a priority supply of crude is to approve Kinder Morgan’s expansion.

“If [Chevron has] got the City of Burnaby standing beside them saying the most import thing for us is Chevron gets the supply, then they’re going to say, ‘well Burnaby, you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. You’re supporting Chevron and they’re saying expand and you’re saying you want Chevron to get a supply, what’s wrong with you?'”

Ray Lord, spokesperson for Chevron Canada’s Burnaby refinery, said the company’s position has not changed.

“As we’ve made clear from the start, Chevron supports the safe and efficient, movement of Canadian energy resources to diversified markets and pipeline expansion could certainly play a key role in that opportunity,” Lord said in an emailed statement. “The issue for us at this time is ensuring the Burnaby refinery has a reliable and economic source of crude. Our application for Priority Destination Designation is the essential element to ensuring cost-effective access, whether on the existing or an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline system.”

Lord said priority access would be “in the best interests” of Burnaby by helping ensure ongoing access to a reliable supply of competitively priced products for its customers, keeping 400 well-paying refinery jobs in the city and providing an economic impact of over $70 million spent annually on local goods and services.

“We cannot speculate on how [Corrigan’s and Stewart’s position] might impact our Priority Destination Designation application. The basis of our application to the NEB remains the same.”

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

Burnaby mayor slams Kinder Morgan and Harper government at town hall

Author
Beth Hong

Starting in September 2012, Texas-based pipeline giant Kinder Morgan began public consultations for an estimated $4.1 billion expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands in Edmonton to Metro Vancouver. The company plans to more than double the capacity of the pipeline by 2017 from its current 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 750,000. The project rivals Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, which aims to export oil sands crude through the Great Bear Rainforest. Kinder Morgan plans to file an application for its expansion project to the National Energy Board in late 2013, and says it plans to begin town hall meetings in Burnaby in November

The Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE) hosted a town hall featuring Sven Biggs of Tanker Free BC, Rueben George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Ben West of the Wilderness Committee, NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, singer Ta’Kaiya Blaney, BROKE member Mary Hatch and Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan. All photos by Beth Hong.
The province has failed to be accountable to British Columbians, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan told more than 200 residents of Burnaby, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, and other neighbouring municipalities who packed the hall at a Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE) town hall last night.

And now it’s up to citizens to voice their concerns to elected officials about a multinational oil giant that wants to expand an oil pipeline under their backyards, homes, and neighbourhoods, the mayor said.

Residents listen to speeches at the town hall

“The federal government determines what’s in the national interest, and if they determine it’s in the national interest—that is, what’s in the interest of Alberta—they can proceed with pushing through a pipeline through our community no matter what kind of bylaw the city of Burnaby proposes,” said Mayor Corrigan.

Noting that since the province of British Columbia opted out of the environmental assessment process on Enbridge and Kinder Morgan, he said that city councils are in a position of ‘powerlessness’ when it comes to demanding accountability in the hierarchy of Canadian politics.

“Eventually they have to be accountable to you, and there is no more important force in Canada than the people of our country,” Corrigan said.

“Despite our lack of constitutional authority, we still have faith that you can make them come to heel.”

Burnaby Mayor criticizes lack of national energy strategy

Corrigan took sharp aim at the Harper government’s management of the Alberta oil sands, alleging that it has “absolutely no idea,” and leaves crucial decisions to multinational corporations.

“They say the market will decide. The reality is, they are mining it and failing to refine it because they want to send it offshore to China. They want to refine that oil without any of the difficulties in North America,” Corrigan said.

“And those problems will be drifting back across the Pacific as a result of those decisions. Not only are we doing ourselves a disservice, not only are we hurting our own community if we allow this to go through, but we are hurting people who are 5,000 miles away from us, who didn’t do us any harm whatsoever. By sending them this caustic oil and by allowing that oil to be refined in a country without the standards that we hold to in North America, we are only creating a problem for someone else that eventually will end up on our back door.”

When asked after the town hall what the response has been from the federal government regarding his constituents’ concerns, Corrigan said that the Ministry of Natural Resources uses the National Energy Board as a “foil” in order to avoid answering questions.

“They switch it back to the National Energy Board. They use the National Energy Board as a foil in order to avoid discussing the issue at all,” he said.

“Yet at the same time they passed legislation that says eventually the decision will be made by the cabinet. So on the one hand they’re telling us deal with the NEB, on the other hand they’re saying we’re going to make the eventual decision.”

Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver is currently on a trip to India, and will respond to Mayor Corrigan’s allegations shortly, according to Ministry spokesperson Carly Wolff. The Vancouver Observer will update this story with his response.

Burnaby resident raises spectre of “traumatic” 2007 oil spill

Much of Corrigan’s ire toward Kinder Morgan and the federal government’s management of Alberta oil sands originates from a 2007 oil spill near Burnaby’s Westridge neighbourhood.

Mary Hatch, a BROKE member and Burnaby resident, recounted her experience of the spill in her neighbourhood.

“Some of my neighbours were out of their homes for months as their houses were being repaired. It’s been five years since the pipeline was ruptured,” Hatch recounted on the panel stage.

“That was a traumatic time for our community—our health and safety had been breached. Now, boom. We’re back to worrying about a new assault on our homes and community.”

Burnaby NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who has been surveying Burnaby and Kamloops residents about the proposed pipeline expansion over the last year and a half, said that he intended to continue his pursuit for answers.

“I just met with the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board about what this means for property values, what kind of insurance do you need to prepare for the kind of rupture that we had in 2007, and I’m getting no answers because they don’t usually run pipelines of this size through urban areas,” he said.

“So the National Energy Board doesn’t really have the answers at the moment, and I’m saying you better give them to us, because I have a concerned community here, and before we go too far down this road, we have to know the facts.”

Kinder Morgan maintains that it is doing an “extensive and thorough engagement process.”

“An open, extensive and thorough engagement process on all aspects of
the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project is underway along the
pipeline corridor between Strathcona County, Alberta (near Edmonton) and
Burnaby, British Columbia and the marine corridor,” Trans Mountain spokesperson Ali Hounsell said.

“We are reaching out to all landowners along the pipeline and meeting with community leaders, elected officials, environmental groups and Aboriginal people to get their input and perspective pipeline corridor between Strathcona County, Alberta (near Edmonton) and Burnaby, British Columbia and the marine corridor. We are reaching out to all landowners along the pipeline and meeting with community leaders, elected officials, environmental groups and Aboriginal peoples to get their input and perspective.”

Kinder Morgan and First Nations consultations at a standstill

However, not all First Nations community leaders agree that Trans Mountain has done adaquate consultations for aboriginal input and perspective.

Rueben George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, located near the Burrard Inlet where most of the tanker traffic is expected to increase, said that there was no consultation, and the federal government was not helping.

“There was no consultation from them or anybody, and they didn’t talk to us since 2005 when they started running oil out of Alberta tar sands into our traditional waters. They didn’t talk to any of us about that before that happened,” George said.

Tsleil-Waututh’s Rueben George

“The other side of it is that they’re rushing through this with the support of the Harper government, so there’s been none at all, no consultation or no talk at all.”

Kinder Morgan countered George’s allegations, and that this was an atypical case.

“We have been seeking the opportunity to meet with Tsleil-Waututh for
some time now. While they have advised they are not ready to meet with
us yet, we stand ready to provide information to them and to meet with
them at any time,” Gary Youngman, Project Lead, Aboriginal Engagement, Trans Mountain Expansion Project told The Vancouver Observer.

“Their position isn’t characteristic of our engagement with other First Nations. We have been in many discussions with many other Aboriginal groups along the line—and many of these discussions are positively progressing.”

Brace for David versus Goliath battle ahead, warns BROKE organizer

Concluding the town hall before a question and answer, Karl Perrin, BROKE member and Burnaby resident, emphasized the scale of a community-wide effort against a major oil pipeline expansion project.

“Of course, Richard Kinder of Kinder Morgan is one of the top 100 richest in the world—he’s number 36 in the United States, and he’s climbing fast,” he said.

Karl Perrin of BROKE

“He’s going for number one. Right now he’s number one in Houston. So he can outspend the whole province if he wanted to, but we live here, and we can invest in our future.”

Perrin and Burnaby City Council plan on applying for intervenor status at the Kinder Morgan National Energy Board hearings in late 2013.

“All opinions and input are valuable and we think it will help make our
application better,” wrote Trans Mountain spokesperson Hounsell. “We encourage people to participate in the information sessions or online and to fill out a feedback form—all comments and concerns will be submitted and considered by the NEB.”

Hounsell added that Trans Mountain will have information sessions in Burnaby in November.