Canadian public interest The National Energy Board (NEB or Board) finds that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) is in Canada’s public interest, and recommends the Governor in Council (GIC) approve the Project and direct the Board to issue the necessary Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) and amended CPCNs. Should the GIC approve the Project, the associated regulatory instruments (Instruments) issued by the Board would come into effect.
An article printed in the Delta Optimist on February 24 2016 revealed a plan lurking in the shadows for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
The article points out that Delta Council endorsed Burnaby’s request to the federal government to suspend the National Energy Board’s review of the Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Then it goes on to suggest Delta could be a fallback location.
Here is what Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington told the Optimist,
“I have no doubt the powers that be are reviewing the possibility of a pipeline to Deltaport. And the way that the minister of environment provincially has supported every major new development along the Fraser – from jet fuel to coal to natural gas – I have no doubt they will at least be sympathetic to such a proposal,” she said.
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.
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.
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 companys 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 its okay for the US to have the full version, I dont know why B.C. cant 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
Members of Kwantlen First Nation in Langley were surprised to discover that Kinder Morgan had just wrapped up one week of Burnaby-Mountain-style borehole drilling on their traditional territory.
The southwest B.C. aboriginal community, an hour’s drive from Vancouver, held a press conference to raise alarm about the drilling activity, that appeared to come without notice.
”There was absolutely no communication whatsoever,” said band member Brandon Gabriel on Thursday.
“Its speaks volumes to how they do business. The fact they keep changing the markers of where they do test drilling speaks volumes to the underhanded nature of their business practice,” he added.
The lack of communication about the drilling left many Kwantlen believing the Texas-based company is attempting to be secretive to avoid protests.
Aboriginal drummers with the Kwantlen First Nation at a Kinder Morgan protest Thursday near the Belmont Golf Course. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.
About 70 people, including the Kwantlen’s chief and band councillors, held the protest just metres from where the borehole drilling took place near the Belmont Golf Course.
Kinder Morgan said Thursday it dug 30-metre-deep boreholes near the Salmon River, and on Rawlison Crescent.
“The sites are both on private property, not municipal lands,” wrote a company spokesperson.
Gabriel told the crowd the band only found out about the drilling through social media and from a salmon conservation group that contacted them to let them know.
The Salmon River Enhancement Society, a non-profit water stewardship charity, noticed the Kinder Morgan drillers in recent days, and took photos. The company work crews appeared to have wrapped up on Monday.
Kinder Morgan said it received permission from the Township of Langley and the private landowners where the drilling took place. But a local resident said the people need to be informed too.
“The township did not make the citizens aware. That’s a problem,” said Shane Dyson, who attended the rally, and lives nearby.
“This will be going on in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope – across the Fraser Valley where they’ll be doing their drill testing.”
“We need to have citizen oversight,” he added.
The company declined to state where else it will conduct further borehole testing, but it is widely believed to be going on throughout the Lower Fraser Valley.
The company is seeking to understand the underground geology all along the 1,000-kilometre-plus pipeline route between Edmonton and Burnaby.
Kwantlen Elder Farley Antone said his people have long been opposed to the company’s incursions into Kwantlen lands and waterways.
”A few years ago, when we were first introduced to Kinder Morgan…I had four words for them. Over my dead body,” said the Elder, to cheers from the crowd.
Kwantlen members also expressed frustration that the National Energy Board’s recent Aboriginal oral hearing in Chillwack did not allow for any critical questioning of the company’s project.
Kinder Morgan’s lawyer infamously asked the band at that hearing if the community still eats fish.
by Jennifer Moreau
A constitutional challenge from ForestEthics Advocacy involving three Burnaby residents and the National Energy Board has hit a wall at the Federal Court of Appeal, but the group plans to take the case to the next level.
The environmental organization is claiming the NEB is infringing on people’s Charter rights by restricting public participation in the Kinder Morgan pipeline hearing and refusing to hear concerns related to climate change and oil-sands development. On Jan. 23, Justice Marc Nadon of the Federal Court of Appeal rejected the case.
Burnaby resident Ruth Walmsley is one of eight people named as applicants in a legal case challenging the NEB’s criteria for participation in pipeline hearings. Photograph By Jennifer Moreau
“Honestly, I was not terribly surprised to hear that news,” said Ruth Walmsley, one of the Burnaby residents named as an applicant in the case. “I was disappointed because I was hoping that the case would have an opportunity to be heard at that level, but we realized at the beginning that we may need to take it to a higher court.”
ForestEthics Advocacy first took the legal challenge to the NEB last spring, which rejected the group’s argument, stating freedom of speech does not necessarily mean anyone should be included in the pipeline hearing. The applicants then went to the Federal Court of Appeal in August, but the case was dismissed on Jan. 23.
Sven Biggs, a spokesperson with ForestEthics Advocacy was surprised by the court’s rejection.
“I thought we had a really strong case, and it deserved the court’s consideration,” he said.
Now the group is plans to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada. Most of the applicants have agreed to take the case further, but Biggs said there are still some who have not yet made up their minds about what to do next.
“We’re not going to give up,” said David Martin, the group’s lawyer. “We believe the legislation is unconstitutional. It violates freedom of expression and it precludes the public from properly participating in the National Energy Board hearings.”
Martin explained that the case is about challenging the NEB’s new procedures, brought in after the Conservative government changed the NEB Act, narrowing the scope of participants in pipeline hearings to those who are “directly affected” by the project.
For example, if the pipeline runs through someone’s backyard, that person would be considered directly affected, but the larger community as a whole is being excluded, Martin explained.
“These are complex legal formulations, but they boil down to that,” he said. “God forbid we should hear from the community.”
Besides ForestEthics Advocacy, there are eight people listed as applicants in the case. John Clarke, another Burnaby resident involved in the case, lives close to the Burnaby Mountain tank farm. He applied as an intervenor in the NEB hearing but was given commenter status, meaning he can only write a letter expressing his stance on the proposed expansion. Walmsley applied to participate as an intervenor in the NEB hearing but was rejected entirely. SFU professor Lynne Quarmby, who recently moved to Burnaby, is also one of the applicants in the case.
In regards to the original motion from ForestEthics Advocacy, NEB spokesperson, Sarah Kiley, explained that the board did not find the applicants had established that the NEB Act or the board itself were violating the Charter.
“That’s why they decided to deny this motion,” Kiley said. “The board made a comment I thought was interesting, … ‘the substantial interference with freedom of expression does not follow simply because the applicants have been denied their preferred means of expression.'”
Kiley also pointed out that the NEB doesn’t create legislation; politicians and parliamentarians are responsible for the NEB Act.
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 Morgans 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.