CALL TO ACTION! People’s Procession & Rally Against the Pipelines

BROKE-Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion is organizing a People’s Procession & Rally Against the Pipelines. We need your help to mobilize thousands of people to come out on Saturday April 12 to show their support.

The People’s Procession will follow the existing and proposed oil and gas pipelines, which cut across the City of Burnaby. The procession will have speeches, media spectacles and performances along the walk.

The goal of the procession is to create a family-friendly space to demonstrate against the Kinder Morgan expansion, increase public awareness of issues associated with this expansion, and bring into visibility the spaces through which the existing and proposed pipelines travel, which include residential neighbourhoods and spaces in the vicinity of schools, parks and other community facilities.

The Procession will culminate in a large rally near Westridge Park. The rally will be followed by a procession to the Westridge Marine Terminal, where a final huge performative action will take place, involving speeches by leading environmentalists, youth leaders and music.

The People’s Procession & Rally will be a major public event bringing together a diverse array of people opposed to the Kinder Morgan expansion. To make this as powerful a statement as possible WE NEED YOUR HELP! We are asking you to join us and help to organize this major event in the Lower Mainland.

Please contact us if you are interested and able to support us with:

Speakers & Live Entertainment
Food & Refreshments
Arranging for infrastructure (PA system, stage, etc)
Outreach (to communities, other concerned groups, media, etc.)
Promotions (fliers, web, etc.)
If you aren’t able to take on a collaborative role, we are also asking for your group to endorse and promote our event and to please show up with a creative and artistic show of solidarity and resistance!

We are still in the process of determining the exact route and schedule of the event, but we ask that you save the date and spread the word! (See poster attached)

For more information about the event, please contact Ruth Walmsley (

For more info about BROKE visit:


6508 East Hastings Street, P.O. Box 44063 Kensington Square, Burnaby, B.C., V5B 1S0

This event is part of the series Collective Walks/Spaces of Contestation. For more information go here

Tsunami Hazard, Possible Fault Line Discovered Near Kitimat

The Geological Survey of Canada has identified a tsunami hazard and a possible seismic fault in Douglas Channel near Kitimat. That’s the proposed site of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and at least three liquified natural gas projects. If the projects go ahead, hundreds of supertankers with either bitumen or LNG will be sailing in the channel for years to come.

A scientific paper by the Geological Survey and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says there were once two giant landslides on Douglas Channel that triggered major tsunamis and that the landslides were possibly caused by an earthquake on the fault line.

The Attorney General of Canada is asking the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel for permission to file late-written evidence long after the panel’s original deadline of December 2011. The attorney general’s motion was filed on Aug. 17, but went unnoticed until the Kitimat environmental group, Douglas Channel Watch, brought the matter up with District of Kitimat Council on Sept. 17.

Appended to the attorney general’s motion is a copy of the October 2012 report titled: “Submarine slope failures and tsunami hazards in coast British Columbia: Douglas Channel and Kitimat Arm.” It says the scientists discovered “evidence of large submarine slope failures in southern Douglas Channel.”

The report goes on to say, “The failures comprise blocks of bedrock and related materials that appear to have been detached directly from the near shore off Hawkesbury Island.” Hawkesbury Island, which is just south of Kitimat, and many of the other islands in Douglas Channel are built up with material left over from the ice age glaciers and thus are vulnerable to displacement and landslides.

The research identified two slides, one estimated at 32 million cubic metres and a second of 31 million cubic metres. The report goes on to say that the discovery of an “apparently active fault presents the possibility that they may have been triggered by ground motion or surface rupture of the fault during past earthquake events.”

The slope failure landslides are covered with thick layers of mud, and that, the scientists say, could mean that the failures could be ancient, possibly occurring 5.000 to 10,000 years ago. Further research is needed to confirm the date of the giant slides.

What’s worrying about the discovery is the fact that there were two recent submarine slope failures near Kitimat on Douglas Channel. The first slope failure occurred on Oct. 17, 1974, triggering a 2.4-metre tsunami at low tide. Then on April 27, 1975 there was a second slope failure near low tide on the northeast slope of the Kitimat Arm that generated an 8.2-metre tsunami. The 1975 tsunami destroyed the Northland Navigation dock near Kitimat and damaged the Haisla First Nation docks at Kitamaat Village.


According to the attorney general’s filing, the DFO is using high-resolution scans of the Douglas Channel seafloor to create models of “potential wave heights and speeds that may have resulted from the two previously unrecognized submarine slope failures in the Douglas Channel.”

The scientific report says that evidence for a continuous fault was observed by a 2010 survey that tracked aligned stream beds and fractures on the south end of Hawkesbury Island, about four kilometers from the site of the second ancient slide.

The possible fault then appears to terminate far to the south near Aristazabal Island on the Inside Passage. The Geological Survey says that 11 small earthquakes, all less than magnitude 3.0, have occurred within 20 kilometres of the suspected fault over the past 25 years.

Scientists conclude that the slides appear to have left very steep slopes at or near the shoreline that could be susceptible to future failure events. According to the report:

The fault must be considered a potential trigger for the submarine failure events… The triggers for the failures have not been defined; however, their proximity to a potentially active fault represents one potential source. The failures probably generated tsunamis during emplacement and conditions exist for similar failures and associated tsunamis to occur along this segment of Douglas Channel in the future.

Natural Resources Canada sent this statement to me to underscore more research is required:

“Although the ancient large submarine slope failures which our scientists have identified may have caused tsunamis, this is not a certainty. It is important to note that Fisheries and Oceans Canada is currently studying this information to model potential wave heights and speeds.”

The attorney general’s filing offers to bring the scientists — whose further research is expected to be completed by Nov. 1 — to the Joint Review Panel to appear as witnesses sometime during the final hearings.

It also notes that the current evidence tendered to the panel by Enbridge and other parties does demonstrate the potential for marine geohazards. Enbridge has said it would undertake further geological survey during the detailed design phase for the terminal.

(A longer version of this report, with more technical details and maps appears on Northwest Coast Energy News.)

Tar Sands SOS

Town Hall at Cameron Elementary School 9540 Erickson Dr, Burnaby, BC V3J 1M9 at 7:00 March 4, 2014. Speakers: First Nations, Mayor Corrigan, Dipak Dattani, Deputry Director, Dept Engineering, City of Burnaby, Patrick Parkes Burnaby Teachers Association, Helisia Luke – Kennedy Stewart Office, MP, Ben West Forest Ethics.
BROKE, Forest Ethics

Enbridge Line 9: W5 uncovers unreported spills, alarming communities along 830-km pipeline

An aging Enbridge pipeline that runs across Ontario has had at least 35 spills — far more than reported to federal regulators — but many municipalities along its route have never been informed of the incidents, a CTV W5 investigation reveals.

The National Energy Board, which regulates pipelines in Canada, has records of seven spills, while Enbridge told the investigative program there had been 13.

But W5’s analysis of information from the energy board, the company and Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment showed 35 spills associated with the 830-kilometre Line 9. (The Quebec government refused to provide W5 with any information).

The company is seeking federal approval to increase and reverse flow on the 38-year-old pipeline and use it to transport, in part, diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands.

“It’s quite alarming,” said Brian McHattie, a city councillor in Hamilton, where seven leaks over the years have released nearly 3,000 litres of crude oil at company facilities northwest of the city. “This is new information for me.”

McHattie said the information raises concern about what is shared with municipalities. Hamilton staff met regularly with Enbridge officials since the company submitted its application, but none, to McHattie’s knowledge, were ever informed of the spills.

“They just haven’t been very forthcoming with us,” said McHattie. “It just makes you less confident in their integrity as a company and their willingness to share information and be above-board.”

Companies are required only to report hydrocarbon spills to the National Energy Board that are larger than 1,500 litres — equivalent to about 25 tanks of gas in an average car — or could have a “significant adverse effect” on the environment.

Enbridge spokesperson Graham White wrote in an email to the Star that the 13 leaks and ruptures noted in pipeline engineering assessments refer to mainline spills. The remainder were spills at facilities, he wrote.

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment requires all spills to be reported, both those occurring on the main line and those within associated facilities. The ministry recorded 22 spills between 2003 and 2013. Just one occurred on the main line, spokesperson Kate Jordan told the Star.

Provincial law also requires that all spills be reported to municipalities in which they occur, but there are many exceptions. Spills such as those occurring at company facilities are usually exempt.

Cramahe Mayor Marc Coombs said he first learned of five spills that together leached 1,824 litres of oil when he was contacted by a W5 reporter.

“We were not notified of any of them,” said Coombs. “It does (raise concerns), from the point of view of transparency.”

The Calgary pipeline company raised the ire of Terrebonne, just outside Montreal, when municipal officials learned of a 2011 spill of 4,000 litres at Enbridge’s local facility — more than two years later. The revelation came in the midst of controversial public hearings in front of the National Energy Board.

“Terrebonne was surprised (by) the Enbridge attitude in this file, you know, because according to us Enbridge, as a good corporate citizen, has a moral responsibility to inform the city that a spill was occurring in that sector, a sector where there is a college, professional training centre, sports complex, daycare and several more businesses,” spokesperson Joël Goulet told W5.

Goulet said the company was willing to notify Terrebonne of similar incidents in the future.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the city isn’t usually notified when spills are contained within facilities and don’t require municipal staff to be involved in containment or cleanup. He said the city hadn’t heard about the nine spills linked with Line 9 facilities in the past decade — but it should.

“It’s just a good practice to notify, and then we can make our own judgment whether we need to do anything further,” said Bradley. “Just tell us. That’s all we want — to know.”

Enbridge spokesperson White said standards and expectations have “changed dramatically in a short period of time.”

“In the past, if there was zero impact to municipalities and leaks were able to be completely and safely maintained, managed and cleaned, on sites that had well-managed and implemented spill prevention and contingency plans, we would report it to regulators as required, but there was no requirement or stated request from municipalities to inform them of incidents that did not impact them in any way whatsoever,” White wrote in an email to the Star.

“We fully understand that expectations have changed due to the prominence that pipeline issues have achieved in recent years, and we are successfully working with municipalities and local emergency responders to inform them of any incident, regardless of whether or not it has any impact off our sites.”

Pipeline War airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on CTV’s W5.

Enbridge record questioned, company vows to do better as Line 9 pipeline decision nears

When Dan Walker bought property along Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline he never thought the pipelines under the ground would interfere with using the property, raising cattle and growing cash crops.
Plans for his property, however, were interrupted when his cows mysteriously started miscarrying.
“Some cows just didn’t take. Some, some were aborting early. And even some were born dead,” says Walker.

Watch the video:

More action to fight climate change needed

Top federal civil servants have warned that more action is needed to combat climate change and manage its risks to communities, government infrastructure, food security and human health.

They have also identified priority areas for potential “government intervention” on energy and environmental innovation, including action on unconventional oil and gas, water and nextgeneration transportation. The report was prepared for Canada’s top bureaucrat Wayne Wouters, clerk of the Privy Council, by the deputy ministers’ committee on climate change, energy and the environment. Wouters directly advises Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The document sheds intriguing light on what’s unfolding within the government on how Canada should both mitigate and respond to climate change, and which emerging energy and environmental industries Ottawa may financially support in the future.

It also raise more questions about why the Conservatives have hesitated to introduce greenhouse gas regulations for the energy industry, when even the most senior federal bureaucrats are flagging their concerns.

The August 2013 report – labelled “SECRET” – was obtained by Postmedia News under access-to-information legislation.

It says Canada is likely to face “significant challenges to mitigate GHG emissions beyond 2020,” given its energy-intensive and export-oriented economy. Clean-technology innovation is needed to achieve deep, long-term emissions reductions, the report says.

Impacts from climatechange – disappearing Arctic sea ice, thawing permafrost, rising sea levels, and increased risks of severe weather – are being felt across Canada, the report says, and are likely to worsen “as the climate continues to change in the future.

Specifically, it adds, more work is needed to address potential risks to $65 billion in federal assets – such as roads and airports in the North that are vulnerable to thawing permafrost – as well as the ability of federal departments and agencies to deliver programs and services.

The government has long promised greenhouse gas regulations for the oil and gas industry, but those standards – years in the making – have been repeatedly delayed. Alberta’s oilsands are the country’s fastestgrowing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Paul Boothe, a former deputy minister of the environment in the Conservative government, said it’s in Canada’s interests, both economically and environmentally, to act on emissions regulations for the energy sector. “Real action” on climate change would make it easier for Canada to sell its oil and gas internationally, Boothe said.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

Tarsands study confirms tailings found in groundwater, river

New federal research confirms that Alberta’s oilsands are polluting ground water and seeping into the Athabasca River.

The industry has maintained that toxic chemicals are contained safely in tailing ponds, but new research shows this isn’t the case.

Read the abstract

“Well, it looks like what they’ve seen is that in fact the tailings ponds are leaking,” said Bill Donahue, environmental scientist with the oilsands advisory committee.

“They found also not only are those tailings ponds leaking, but it looks like it is flowing pretty much from those tailings ponds, through the ground and into the Athabasca River.”

“So, there goes … that message we’ve been hearing about. ‘These tailings ponds are safe, they don’t leak’ and so on.”

Previous studies using models have estimated the leakage at 6.5 million litres a day from a single pond.

But the Environment Canada study used new technology to actually fingerprint the mix of groundwater chemicals in the area.

It found the mix of chemicals from tailings is different from that in naturally occurring bitumen deposits.

That tailings mix, which contains toxic chemicals, is found in groundwater around mining operations, but not in areas away from development.

The Pembina Institute, an environmental research group, has long said the ponds leak. But analyst Erin Flanagan said the new research shows even Pembina underestimated how much.

“As we continue to expand the industry, we’re also expanding the production of tailings waste.”

The study, conducted under a new federal-provincial oilsands monitoring program, was accepted for publication in late January by the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The federal scientists were not available. The Alberta government says the research is of interest, but doesn’t confirm anything.

Route for Westridge will be a Kinder surprise

It’s still not clear which route in the north of the city Kinder Morgan would prefer for its pipeline expansion, but the public will eventually be informed, according to the company’s president.

Meanwhile, the deadline to apply as a participant in the hearing has passed, although the National Energy Board may consider an extension.

Kinder Morgan has put forward a proposed pipeline route and an alternate option for the Westridge area, which overlooks the marine terminal, where tankers fill up with crude. The square-shaped neighbourhood is boxed in by the two pipeline options, while the existing line runs down the middle. The company’s “preferred” western route comes down the west side of Cliff Avenue, by the Drummond’s Walk urban trail and the Burrard Inlet Conservation Area. The alternate eastern option comes down behind Ridgeview Drive and Pandora Drive on the western edge of Burnaby Mountain. Both routing options meet in the middle at the Westridge Marine Terminal. The neighbourhood was also the site of the 2007 pipeline rupture, which sprayed oil in the air, coating local homes with crude.

The NOW contacted several residents on the western and eastern edges of the area, inquiring whether Kinder Morgan had informed them of where the pipeline would go.

While many seemed confused or unaware, some residents on the western side seemed to have been contacted, while those on the east (on Pandora and Ridgeview) said they received no notification about the pipeline. The NOW asked the Trans Mountain media team, three times, which route in the north the company now prefers, but we did not receive a specific answer.

Art Hilstad lives on Northcliffe Crescent, close to the Burrard Inlet, and he has concerns the western route would come across his property.

“That’s the way it looks on any map that I’ve seen. It goes right across our backyard,” he said. However, the company has not entered into any kind of land agreement to use his property.

The NOW also talked to another Northcliffe resident (who wanted to remain anonymous because he’s trying to sell his home) who said some neighbours are considering a class action suit.

As previously reported in the NOW, Kinder Morgan now prefers the alternate route in the south, which runs along the CN rail line, instead of the route proposed in the company’s application to the National Energy Board, which comes down Lougheed Highway.

The NOW also learned that company representatives recently walked along the CN railway route, with members from the Stoney Creek Environment Committee and the Sapperton Fish and Game Club, as well as representative from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

In a Feb. 11 letter to the editor, Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said people will know where the pipeline is going to go.

“But it is a process that takes time and one that must take into consideration the interests of people, safety and the environment,” he wrote. “If you have not been contacted by us, you are not in either corridor. If that changes, you will hear directly from us.”

Anderson also indicated that there are four Burnaby homes that are in the selected study corridor, and those landowners have been notified. The homes are somewhere between the tank farm on Burnaby Mountain and the Westridge Marine Terminal.

Climate change not part of Kinder Morgan hearing: Scientists concerned over government’s lack of consideration on the issue

An internationally renowned environmental economist is criticizing the federal government for failing to consider climate change while reviewing pipeline applications, such as Kinder Morgan’s bid to twin the Trans Mountain line.

SFU professor and climate change expert Mark Jaccard blasted the government’s absence of consideration for climate change, despite Canada’s promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help stop the planet’s temperature from rising by two degrees Celsius.

“It’s completely inconsistent for the government of Canada to allow expansion of oil sands and talk, at the same time, about its promise for two degrees Celsius,” Jaccard told the NOW. “If the government were being honest, it would ensure any infrastructure project, like a pipeline linking the oil sands, included in its terms of reference an estimate of how this and similar infrastructure projects contribute to climate change.”

According to Jaccard, the reason behind the disconnect is obvious.

“They don’t care. They are getting a lot of money from the oil industry,” he said. “Our politicians act as if they were bought by the oil industry. I’m not saying they’re bought by the oil industry. I’m saying they act as if.”

On Dec. 16, Kinder Morgan applied to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has been running oil from the Alberta oil sands to B.C. since the 1950s. The expansion, if approved, would increase the line’s oil shipments, from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

“Oil sands are about two million barrels per day,” Jaccard said. “The new projects that have been approved, or are in the planning stages, are designed to bring production ultimately to nine million barrels a day. This is huge.”

Jaccard said it was interesting that the National Energy Board Act outlines concerns about the environment, and the board assesses whether there will be oil spills – on land, on sea or in fresh water – but “climate change will devastate all of those ecosystems.”

“I don’t even care about these processes that are looking into preventing an oil spill. The First Nations and other environmentalists are all clamouring about an oil tanker spill on the coast, to preserve the fish life and mammals, ocean life. Well, climate change is acidifying those oceans,” he added. “I work in an inter-disciplinary school at Simon Fraser University with ocean ecologists and oceanographers, and they will tell you these species are doomed anyway if we’re going to continue to expand the burning of fossil fuels.”

The National Energy Board has been clear that it will not consider climate change when reviewing Kinder Morgan’s application.

“We’re not addressing climate change in this hearing. That’s been laid out really clearly in the list of issues,” said Sarah Kiley, a spokesperson for the National Energy Board. “If you have a concern about climate change, we don’t have a mandate to regulate for that. Our mandate is pretty specific. We regulate pipelines that cross either an inter-provincial or an international border. We do exports, we do tolls and tariffs and a certain number of different things.”

Many people who applied to participate in the Kinder Morgan hearing expressed concerns about climate change, including George Hoberg, a UBC professor who specializes in energy and climate policy and holds a PHD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In his application, Hoberg stated the planet is likely to warm 2.6 to 4.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, “bringing about changes unprecedented in the history of human civilization.”

Hoberg identified increasing oil sands operations as the main obstacle in Canada meeting its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

Hoberg’s application to intervene as someone with relevant information or expertise will very likely be rejected by the board.

“I think that indicates there is something deeply flawed about the process,” he told the NOW. “If academics and experts on climate change can’t intervene in a hearing about a big oil sands pipeline, that’s a big problem.”

Hobergisn’t the only one raising the spectre of climate change. Two of his colleagues, including UBC professor and climate scientist Simon Donner, encouraged other experts to apply in the hearing, and they estimate 20 to 30 academics with similar concerns followed through.

“I’m not saying yes or no the pipeline, I’m saying no to the process,” Donner told the NOW.

“Most people working on this issue, whether they are scientists or not, are very frustrated with the federal government,” he added. “A lot of those 2,100 people (who applied) are not going to shut up about this, because the National Energy Board made a mistake, and people are not going to let it stand and stay quiet.”

Donner said there was no policy or mechanism to determine if building new projects will stop Canada from meeting its greenhouse gas emission targets.

© Burnaby Now

NEB rejects EPA’s appeals for extension on Kinder Morgan hearings deadline

Jenny Uechi
The National Energy Board has rejected a request by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to extend the deadline to apply as a participant in public hearings over Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The EPA told the NEB earlier this month that it wasn’t aware of the February 12 deadline to apply to participate in the hearings over the project, which would bring close to 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Edmonton to Burnaby. Although over 2,000 participants applied in time for the deadline — including Lummi, Suquamish, Tulalip and Swinomish Nation from Washington State — the powerful U.S. environmental regulator will not be able to take part in the hearings.

“The board has set deadlines to ensure a fair and efficient process and is not persuaded, based on the request, to grant the extension sought by the EPA,” NEB secretary Sherri Young said on Friday in a notice to David Allnutt, director of the EPA office of ecosystems, tribal and public affairs.

In the past, the EPA has fined Kinder Morgan $316,000 in 2012 for violating risk management provisions surrounding its gas plants in Wyoming. A few years earlier, it also slapped the Texas-based pipeline giant with a $600,000 fine for violating U.S. federal air and hazardous waste regulations.

Although the Trans Mountain pipeline is based in Alberta and BC, it is expected to have an ecological impact on Washington State was well if the oil tanker traffic increases from the current average of five tankers a month to 30 tankers a month. The $5.4 billion Trans Mountain expansion project is the company’s “biggest project”, Kinder Morgan president Steve Kean said in a teleconference with analysts last month.