South Portland moves to block Alberta bitumen from reaching its port

South Portland, Maine, could be the first U.S. city to pass a law to block Alberta oilsands crude from getting anywhere near its waterfront.

The city of 25,000 people is turning into a test case for local communities that don’t want oilsands bitumen shipped from their ports.

Tom Blake, the former mayor of South Portland, gave CBC News a tour of his city this week where a temporary moratorium has been imposed on any new structures used by oil companies to help load oil from a pipeline on land, to oil tankers in their port for export.

“We have no interest in having the world’s dirtiest oil come through our community,” said Blake, who currently sits on city council.

South Portland sits across the bay from Portland, Maine. It’s the third-largest oil port on the U.S. East Coast.

It has provided imported oil by pipeline to Canada since 1941, when it was built to help provide a safe source of energy to this country during the Second World War.

The oil moves north from Maine through New Hampshire to Montreal via the Portland Montreal Pipeline, a subsidiary of the Canadian parent company that is owned by three companies involved in the Alberta oilsands: Shell, Suncor and Imperial Oil.

In 2008, the company applied for a permit to reverse the flow of the pipeline to bring Canadian oil to the U.S. east coast.

The plan was scrapped because of the recession and there is no current project on the books. But the company president Larry Wilson has been quoted as saying he is looking for every opportunity to revive the plan.

“The current president has stated publicly many times and to me personally that he would love to bring tarsands to South Portland,” said Blake.

So when Canada’s National Energy Board approved the reversal of Enbridge’s Line 9B to bring oilsands bitumen east to Montreal in early March, many in South Portland figured it was only a matter of time before that oil would be heading south to their port for export.

“They want to use the existing infrastructure because they’re not getting their other pipes done as quickly as they want to,” said Crystal Gooderich, a spokeswoman for local citizen’s group Protect South Portland.

Last fall the group of residents formed a vocal anti-oilsands campaign and narrowly lost a citywide vote on a restrictive new ordinance on all waterfront development.

But it was enough to convince the city to pass a six-month moratorium in November on proposals to build new structures to transfer oil onto marine vessels.

Portland Pipeline’s original plan included two 21-metre industrial stacks on the city’s scenic waterfront to burn off gas from the piped oil before its transfer to a tanker.

The council may extend the moratorium for a further six months to allow a committee to draft an ordinance for a permanent ban.

Health and safety concerns

For Gooderich and her neighbours, it’s a health and safety issue. Local neighbourhoods are dotted with more than 120 oil storage tanks that have sprouted up since the 1940s.

And the current Portland Pipeline runs right through backyards and streets lined with trendy Cape Cod style homes.

People worry about air pollution and heavy oil spilling in their scenic bay.

Jamie Py, the executive director of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, sees no reason to block Alberta’s oilsands crude from reaching South Portland’s waterfront. (CBC News)

“The tarsands product is so difficult to clean up, almost impossible,” said Gooderich.

“If we were to have a disaster in Casco Bay, or in our drinking supply in Lake Sebago, it would be something we’d never recover from fully.”

The moratorium and the possibility of a precedent-setting local law have sparked a sharp response from the oil industry, which is running a series of pro-oilsands ads in local papers.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents more than 500 oil and gas companies, called the current moratorium “ill-advised, unnecessary and unsupported.”

In a letter to the city in December 2013, it warned “the proposed moratorium could cause harm to local, state and national interests.”

“The development of oilsands promotes North American energy security and brings substantial economic benefits to the state of Maine.” writes API, which predicts this will all end up in court.

Moratorium bad for business

Local businesses say a vocal minority have lost sight of how important the oil industry is the region’s economy.

“It’s been an oil port for a long time, said Jamie Py, the executive director of the Maine Energy Marketers Association. “Eighty per cent of the shipping business that comes into the port is related to the oil business.”

“It’s not unprecedented that people want to ban things, that happens all the time. On this one all I can say is look at the facts, ladies and gentlemen, let’s look at the facts of what this product is. And I think the facts will show you it’s not any more dangerous or any more difficult to handle than traditional crude oil, so why do we have this big issue here?”

[ Proposed oil projects in California

(b/d = barrel a day)

San Francisco Bay area:

Valero, Benicia: 70,000 b/d refinery-linked crude-by-rail terminal

WesPac, Pittsburg: 242,000 b/d oil terminal, including rail, ship, tank farm and pipeline.
Southern California

Valero, Wilmington: 60,000 b/d refinery-linked crude-by-rail terminal .
San Joaquin Valley

Alon, Bakersfield: 150,000 b/d refinery and pipeline-linked crude-by-rail terminal.

Plains All American, Bakersfield: 65,000 b/d pipeline-linked crude-by-rail terminal.
Central Coast

Phillips 66, Santa Maria: Up to 52,000 b/d refinery-linked crude-by-rail terminal.
– Details provided by Natural Resources Defence Council ]

South Portland is being closely watched by people on the U.S. West Coast. Local environmental groups in six California communities are also trying to use local laws to prevent oilsands and Bakken crude from coming to their ports by train.

“We don’t want to be the pass-through sacrifice zone for crude oil transiting through California and being exported,” said Diane Bailey, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defence Council in an interview from San Francisco.

“Right now there is a domestic crude oil export ban, but that’s not to say that the Canadian tarsands can’t come through California coast ports to be exported, and we’ve very concerned that it would be all risk and very little benefit to these communities.”

Py thinks that national environmental groups waging a war on the oilsands industry as a whole are using local groups to help fight the battle.

“Canadian people have made a decision that this is an OK thing to do, that this is in their best interest to do so. It’s an energy source that’s huge and we would like to do business with the United States, but there are some folks in the United States who said no, we don’t want to do business with Canada. That’s a cultural problem, It’s an economic and it’s a political problem.”

In the meantime, a special committee in South Portland is carefully drafting an ordinance to stop oilsands crude from getting anywhere near an export tanker in the city’s bay. There’s no doubt this local law would have to stand up to intense international scrutiny.

It’s expected to be ready sometime in the fall.

Video: Earthquake in Washington detected near mudslide site

Department of Emergency Management director John Pennington says seismic activity was detected approximately 100 yards behind the slide in Washington. (March 25)


Parks not pipelines

Today there was a full page colour ad in the Times Colonist, and a press release (attached), highlighting concerns with Bill 4 which will open up BC Parks to industrial activity including pipelines. Signatories include BC Wildlife Federation, BCGEU, and a long list of enviros.

Apparently Bill 4 was passed yesterday. But we will be continuing to push on this. There was a complete lack of public consultation. Since the introduction of this Bill, CPAWS and a collection of other ENGOs have collected nearly 10,000 letters and petition signatures trying to get this bill stopped.

We want parks, not pipelines. Please share this facebook graphic

If you know people in the BC interior, I think the pipelines in parks problem is a good hook to get them involved in the pipeline campaigns. As indicated by BC Wildlife Federation signing on to this ad and release. Let’s use this moment to build up some momentum in the interior.

Possible tweets:

Changes to Park Act pave the way for pipelines in #BCParks; Bill 4 opposed by @BCWildlife @Sierra_BC @bcgeu #bcpoli

Parks are for people&wildlife not pipelines, ask @christyclarkbc to reject #Bill4 and protect #BCparks #bcpoli

Is 2014 the year #BCparks change forever? Act now to keep pipelines out of our parks, ask @christyclarkbc to reject Bill 4 #bcpoli


Caitlyn Vernon
Campaigns Director
Sierra Club BC

#301-2994 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC V8T 4N4
Tel: (250) 386-5255 x222 Fax: (250) 386-4453
Cell: (250) 896-3500

Oil spills — the 10 lessons we must learn

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. To help remember the spill, and to provide a dose of reality in the face of millions of dollars of advertising for the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, here are 10 truths about oil spills that every British Columbian should know:

1. Oil spill cleanup is a myth: Once oil is spilled, the battle is lost. Exxon spent more than $2 billion trying to clean up its Alaska spill, but recovered less than seven per cent. BP spent $14 billion on the Deepwater Horizon spill, but recovered only three per cent from the sea surface and beaches. Rarely is more than 10 per cent of a marine spill ever recovered.

2. Oil spills cause long-term environmental damage: Twenty-five years after the Alaska spill, scientists are finding oil on the beaches that in some cases is just as fresh and toxic as if it had been spilled only a few weeks ago. Only 13 of 32 monitored populations, habitats and resource services are considered fully “recovered” or “very likely recovered.” Some populations, such as Pacific herring and the AT1 killer whale pod are “not recovering.”

3. Oil spill restoration is impossible: Once a coastal or marine ecosystem is “broken,” it cannot be “fixed.” All the money in the world can’t repair a destroyed ecosystem or the human communities that depend on it.

4. Taxpayers are on the hook: Oil spill “cleanup” costs are covered by international cleanup funds up to only $1.4 billion. Taxpayers would be on the hook for as much as $22 billion if an Exxon-sized spill occurred in B.C.

5. Enbridge has zero liability: If there’s a spill outside its marine terminal, Enbridge is not responsible. This lack of responsibility is compounded by the fact that tanker companies use numbered companies to reduce their liability and financial risk in the event of a spill.

6. Double-hull tankers do not eliminate the risk of oil spills: Enbridge has acknowledged that approximately 30 double-hull tanker incidents have been reported over the past 20 years. At least one of these, the Volgoneft, spilled 1,300 tonnes of oil into the Black Sea after suffering a structural failure during a storm.

7. Government officials play down the risk of an oil spill: Seeking approval to build the Trans Alaska Pipeline in the 1970s, industry and government promised oil would be shipped safely from Alaska, and “not one drop” would be spilled thanks to fail-safe technologies. BP and Shell made similar promises before their drilling rig accidents in 2010 and 2012. We’ve heard the same “world-class” promises in Canada, at a time when coast guard resources and environmental emergency response centres are being cut in B.C.

8. The coastal economy would be destroyed: An oil spill would have devastating impacts on B.C.’s marine economy. Marine sectors on the north and central coasts and Haida Gwaii generate $386.5 million in revenue and provide 7,620 direct, indirect, and induced jobs.

9. Coastal First Nations have already banned oil tankers from their traditional territories: In upholding our ancestral laws, rights and responsibilities, the Coastal First Nations have declared that oil tankers carrying crude oil will not be allowed to transit our lands and waters. It is a sacred duty to pass our territories and culture on to following generations in good order.

10. Oil spills will be an issue in the next federal election: The Conservatives are the only political party that supports the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tankers project. British Columbians will have a chance to vote against those who put our coast at risk of an oil spill in October 2015.

If we care about B.C.’s north coast and the people that live there, then we will reject the Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tankers project. The Coastal First Nations invite all concerned citizens to support our oil tanker ban by signing a declaration of support at:

Art Sterritt is the executive director of the Coastal First Nations.

Rick Steiner was a marine conservation professor with the University of Alaska from 1980 to 2010, and a marine adviser for the Prince William Sound region during the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Rick established the Regional Citizens Advisory Councils and the Prince William Sound Science Center.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Shellfish die-off shows a future we must avoid

The Feb. 27 headline, “Ocean acidity wipes out 10M scallops; Mass die-off near Qualicum Beach ominous sign for shellfish harvest,” should have hit British Columbians like a punch in the stomach.

The shellfish industry has been an economic powerhouse on central Vancouver Island for decades, providing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue every year — more than $30 million in average wholesale value.

But when we talk about shellfish, we aren’t just talking jobs and economics. We are talking about food. Shellfish harvesting is one of our most robust local food systems, and the prospect of losing this industry makes us all feel, quite frankly, a little hungry.

Of the possible causes of the recent scallop die-off, ocean acidification seems the most likely. Ocean acidification is directly connected to climate change and to our runaway consumption of fossil fuels. In short, acidification occurs when carbon is absorbed into the ocean from the atmosphere, making the water more acidic. Acidification strips the ocean of carbonate ions, which marine species like scallops and oysters need to build their shells, therefore reducing the ability of these species to survive.

For years, groups like the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association have been raising the alarm about the verified threat of acidification to the shellfish industry.

Roberta Stevenson, the association’s executive director, told us that the public and our elected decision-makers need to understand how serious the situation is for shellfish growers on B.C.’s coast. She said the significant economic benefits the industry provides could disappear if we don’t start to see the health of the oceans as an economic priority.

A major source of atmospheric carbon is the burning of fossil fuels: oil, coal and gas. In B.C., we have a stake in important decisions over whether to build fossil-fuel export infrastructure. The proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines, the prospective B.C. liquefied natural gas industry and the proposed Raven coal mine will all put much more carbon into the atmosphere, further acidifying the ocean and directly threatening the survival of shellfish species and coastal communities.

All these proposed projects need B.C.’s consent. It’s important that we make the right choices and get on a path to a low-carbon future.

The recent scallop die-off is a clear illustration of what we will face if we don’t act now to reduce our carbon emissions. Climate change and ocean acidification will continue to have devastating consequences, not just for coastal economies, communities and families, but for anyone who depends on the ocean as a source of food.

What’s more, coal, oil, and gas are finite resources, guaranteed to go bust when they run out, become too expensive or when the environmental impacts are deemed not worth the risk. Any financial benefits we gain from extracting and exporting them will one day disappear completely. We will be left with the socio-economic hardship and lingering environmental problems well-known to many communities where boom-bust extractive industries have run their course.

By continuing to promote the extraction and export of coal, oilsands oil and fracked gas instead of sustainable sectors in B.C., our government is making a political choice to prioritize short-term profits over renewable industries that can provide economic stability and contribute to viable, healthy communities over the long term.

We all deserve good jobs that don’t destroy our children’s future. For the sake of these shellfish and the families that depend on them, let’s work together to develop a smart and creative strategy to transition away from fossil fuels and toward a low-carbon economy — with meaningful jobs in sustainable industries that don’t compromise ecosystems. A healthy coast is one with abundant food that can still be pulled from the ocean, as it always has been.

If we keep pumping carbon into our atmosphere, we’re investing in an acidic ocean for decades, if not centuries, to come, and we’re forsaking the sustainable shellfish industry and the communities, businesses and jobs it supports.

Caitlyn Vernon is campaigns director for Sierra Club B.C. Torrance Coste is Vancouver Island campaigner for the Wilderness Committee.

© Copyright Times Colonist

Kinder Morgan’s 2nd pipeline route concerns Surrey residents

Residents of Fraser Heights were asked to give soil samples by company planners

Planners for the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline are trying to reassure residents of a Surrey, B.C., neighbourhood they don’t have any plans yet to dig up their yards and lay down a crude oil pipeline.

It was about six weeks ago that land agents showed up in North Surrey, asking residents if they could take soil samples.

A short while later, residents were given maps that showed a second option for the pipeline route. The residents were told Kinder Morgan is considering an alternate route for the pipeline that would run right through their properties.

Instead of running under industrial land along the South Fraser Perimeter Road near the Fraser River, the pipeline would cut through their properties.

But the project director says the company isn’t trying to pull a fast one on people who live in Fraser Heights. Trans Mountain Project director Greg Toth says that’s just a back-up plan.

“We need to have an alternative that we can fall back onto, and that’s really the exploration of the Surrey Fraser Heights.”

Expanding concerns

The alternative route proposal doesn’t just have an impact on people in Surrey.

Earlier this week the City of Burnaby sent a letter to the National Energy Board, which is reviewing the project application, saying it lacks critical details concerning the route and the emergency response plan.

Langley farmer Byron Smith says the route will cut through his farm and he’s concerned because his land is on a flood plain.

“That makes for a spill to be catastrophic. It would contaminate all of the local farmland, and that’s one of the big, big concerns.”

Project spokespeople will be on hand to answer questions at three upcoming public hearings on the proposal in Chilliwack, Langley and Burnaby.

Trans Mountain Expansion Project Incomplete: City of Burnaby

March 17, 2014
File No. 13001t) Reply to: Gregory J. McDade, Q.C. 1—niall: gmeclade(a ratchtt.corn

National Energy Board 444 Seventh Ave. SW Calgary, AB T2P OX$

Attention: Sheri Young Secretary of the Board

Dear Sirs/Mesdames:

Re: Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (“Trans Mountain”) — Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the “Project”)

File OF-Fac-Oi]-T260-2013-03 02

We are legal counsel for the City of Burnaby (“Burnaby”) and are writing to express our concern about the completeness of the Facilities Application for the Project submitted by Trans Mountain on December 16, 2013 (the “Application”). Burnaby has filed an Application to participate as an intervenor in the hearing for the Project. Burnaby is concerned that the Application is incomplete in that it does not satisfy the requirements as set out in the National Energy Board filing Manual (the “Manual”) and the Filing Requirements Related to the Potential Environmental and Socio Economic Effects of Increased Marine Shipping Activities attached to the letter from the National Energy Board (NEB) to Trans Mountain dated September 10, 2013.

The Application does not provide sufficient information to enable potential participants in the public hearing to determine how they would be impacted by the Project and how they could respond to the issues raised by the Project with their own evidence. We appreciate that further information will be forthcoming throughout the process, however, the Application must meet the minimum standards as required by the law and natural justice.

Burnaby considers the Application to be significantly deficient in a number of key areas that can not be corrected without the resubmission of a revised Application. Those areas include :

Selection Criteria for the Proposed Route — the Application does not provide sufficient information on the criteria used to determine the proposed route, and route alternatives, for the Project, as required by s. 4.1 of the Manual. The Application does not provide any justification for the conclusion that the decision to run the new pipeline (Line 2) contiguous with the existing pipeline (Line 1) will minimize the environmental and socioeconomic effects of the Project. The Application does not provide any information on the specific criteria used to determine the routing alternatives for the proposed two new distribution lines from the Burnaby Mountain Terminal to the Westridge Marine Terminal or a comparison of those alternatives. Further, the Application does not provide any justification for the siting of the facilities associated with the Project. Given the location of the Burnaby Mountain Terminal and the Westridge Marine Terminal in proximity to Burnaby’s neighbourhoods, Trans Mountain has not provided any information on the criteria used to determine to expand those operations, as opposed to having the new pipeline and distribution lines routed to a different destination. Burnaby, and other intervenors, require this information to be able to respond to the Application.

Feasibility of Pipeline Routing through the Study Corridors — Within the study corridors (selected and alternative) there are both underground and surface infrastructure, which are integral to the function and operations of Burnaby including, but not limited to, City infrastructure and utilities (water, sanitary, storm and sewer), rail, road, transit network infrastructure and Metro Vancouver regional utilities and infrastructure. To the extent that the Application discusses Project Design and Execution — Engineering, it does not adequately address the potential conflict between the proposed pipeline (Line 2) and existing infrastructure, both from an engineering design view point (technical scope), and the ability of Bunaby to continue to provide these infrastructure services, particularly as it relates to maintenance operations and future works. Potential significant conflict areas within the study corridors, include the following segments:

Lougheed corridor (segment between North Road and Galgardi Way) — City infrastructure and utilities are located within this segment including, but not limited to, water, storm, GVWD, GVS & DD sanitary trunk and the TransLink Millenium Skytrain line and right-of-way.

BNR Railway/Brunette River/Stoney Creek Ravine corridor (connecting to Galgardi Way) this segment is encumbered with infrastructure and utilities including, but not limited to, GVS & DD sanitary trunk, storm and sanitary mains. This segment also serves as a rail transportation corridor for the movement of goods across the region.

Burnaby Mountain Parkway distribution line corridor from Burnaby Mountain Terminal to Westridge Marine Terminal — this segment has City infrastructure and utilities including, but not limited to, watermain and pump station (Burnaby Mountain Station), storm and streams.

Cliff Avenue distribution line corridor from Burnaby Mountain Terminal to Westridge Marine Terminal — this segment has GVS & DD sanitary trunk and pump station.

Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area corridor at Barnet Road Intersection — City storm infrastructure is located at this intersection of Barnet Road.

The study corridors for the proposed pipeline (Line 2) within Burnaby follow a significant length of corridors that are identified as major transportation corridors within Burnaby and the broader Metro Vancouver region (i.e. Lougheed Highway, BNR rail corridor and Burnaby Mountain Parkway). These corridors carry significant traffic (vehicle, truck and rail) volume. The Application fails to address at all the long term effect of the repetitive and heavy traffic load and volume on the integrity of the pipeline, and the added public safety risk associated with the presence of the pipeline in these high traffic locations.

Identification of Environmental Areas and Impacts — The Project, and more specifically the proposed routing of the pipeline (Line 2), encroaches into environmentally sensitive areas and conservation lands, including Brunette River, Burnaby 200, and Burrard Inlet conservation areas. The Application does not provide sufficient information on these areas or an adequate assessment of the impacts of the Project on these areas. The proposed study corridors do not adequately account for all water courses/local water shed that could be impacted, as well as piped drainage and open ditches that form part of the stormwater system.

Identification of Valued Components— SectionA.2.6oftheManualrequiresthe applicant to describe which biophysical or socio-economic elements in the study area are of’ ecological, economic or human importance and require more detailed analysis that takes into account the results of public consultation. The Application does not adequately identify and provide information on the valued components within the Project area. Throughout the consultation process the citizens of’Burnaby, for example, raised concerns about the proximity of the Project to residents; impacts of the Project on their health, property values and schools; the environmental and visual impact of the expansion of the Westridge Marine Terminal and Burnaby Mountain Terminal; the impact of the Project on nearby conservation areas and community lands; the impact of the Project on water quality, including wound water; the increased demands on local and regional services as a result of the Project; and the impact of the Project on city infrastructure. These concerns remain outstanding and were not resolved within the consultation process. These issues should be analyzed in detail and the information and its outcomes should be provided in the Application.

Cumulative Environmental Effects — the Application does not provide sufficient information on any remaining cumulative effects of the Project, after mitigation measures, as required by s. A.2.7 of the Manual. The spatial and temporal boundaries selected for the effects analysis are overly restrictive. The Application emphasizes current or existing conditions and makes no or little mention of trend-over-time data. It is essential to identify existing cumulative effects as a part of the context of the receiving environment. Burnaby is particularly concerned that the Application does not address or provide sufficient information on the ongoing effects of the 2007 Trans Mountain oil spill in Burnaby. Further, information is required on cumulative effects until there is no reasonable probability of measureable effects from the Project, not just for the lifespan of the Project. Currently, the Application does not provide a sufficient analysis on cumulative effects for the NEB, the public and Burnaby to weigh the impacts of the Project.

Safety and Security: Effects Assessment for Accidents and Malfunctions — Section A.2.6 of the Manual states that the applicant’s environmental and socio-economic effects assessment must identify and assess the effects on workers, the public, and biophysical and socio-economic elements of all potential accidents and malfunctions. As noted in the manual, accidents and malfunctions and associated emergencies can result from numerous types of events, including pipeline and equipment failure, human error, natural perils such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes, and willful acts of terrorism, vandalism, trespassing or other criminal activities. The Application does not adequately address all of the potential types of accidents and malfunctions for the Project. It focuses specifically on oil spill risks and oil spill scenarios. It does not provide information on the very real possibility of other emergencies including, for example, criminal activities and earthquakes. In addition, even in relation to oil spills the Application does not provide sufficient information, as the oil spill scenarios do not capture the extent of the effects of a potential spill on the public, the environment and the economy.

Plans to Address Accidents and Malfunctions — Section A.2.6 of the Manual states that the applicant must describe the plans and treasures to address potential effects of accidents and malfunctions during the operation of the Project. The Application does provide sufficient information on how Trans Mountain plans to address accidents and malfunctions. The Application does not provide information on how coordination with industry, municipal, provincial or federal authorities would work in relation to the “third tier” emergencies identified, which Trans Mountain does not have the resources to respond to. Further, the Application does not adequately address how nearby residents will be notified in the event of an accident or spill at the Terminal facilities and/or along the pipeline. The application also does not provide sufficient information on an evacuation plan. There appears to be an unverified assumption that Burnaby will respond with municipal fire and other emergency services, but the Application does not provide sufficient information to assess those capabilities. Trans Mountain also does not provide information in the Application on any agreements or arrangements reached with these authorities to enable it and them to respond to these types of emergencies. Burnaby is concerned, for example, that the Application does not provide any information on the capacity of Trans Mountain, or local fire departments, to respond to a fire at the Burnaby Mountain Terminal or other fires, for example, during loading at the Westridge Marine Terminal. This is particularly concerning given the proposed in-situ burning, as a response to oil spills. Without this information, neither the NEB nor Burnaby will be able to assess the risks of the Project to Burnaby’s citizens and the environment.

Consultation — the Application does not provide sufficient information to satisfy that all persons and groups potentially affected by the Project are aware of the Project and that those impacted by the Project have been adequately consulted, as required by s. 3.4.3 of the Manual. Burnaby is concerned that many of its affected citizens have not been made aware of the Project and have not been provided with information in relation to the Project. The Project will have far reaching effects, with the potential for a spill only serving to extend those effects. Given the breadth of the Project, Trans Mountain has improperly limited its consultation area and failed to provide information on consultation with potentially affected groups. The Application does not provide adequate information on the justification for this limited consultation area. The public hearing for the Project should not proceed without the public being made aware of the Project and being given a fair opportunity to identify areas of ecological, economic or human importance that may be impacted by the Project.

Given these deficiencies, it is clear that Trans Mountain’s Application does not contain the information required by the Manual and is not in accordance with rule 15 of the National Energy Board Rules ofPractice and Procedure. It does not contain the necessary information for the NEB to make an informed decision about the Project that balances, among other things, the environmental, economic and social interests. It also does not contain sufficient information for the public to understand and analyze the impacts of the Project.

It is the responsibility of Trans Mountain to provide the NEB and the public with the information that they need to evaluate and respond to the Project. The burden should not be placed on potential participants in the hearing to go through multiple information requests to supplement the information provided in the application. In light of the deficiencies in information in the application, we submit that the NEB should consider the application to be incomplete.

cc: Mayor and Council, Burnaby
Shawn Denstedt, Q.C., Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Scott $toness, Trans Motintain Pipeline ULC

City of Burnaby Challenges Legality of TransMountain (Kinder Morgan) Application


March 17, 2014

For Immediate Release

Burnaby Advises National Energy Board that Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project Application is Incomplete and does not meet Legal Requirements for Hearing and Public Evaluation

Today, the City of Burnaby formally requested that the National Energy Board find that the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project Application is incomplete and reject it on the basis that it contains neither the information needed for the NEB to make an informed decision nor sufficient information for the public to understand and analyze the impacts of the Project and does not comply with NEB rules.

“We are extremely concerned about multiple aspects of this proposal that we know will have very negative impacts on our City,” says Mayor Derek Corrigan. “This concern is compounded by the fact that Kinder Morgan’s application is incomplete, which makes it impossible to know the extent of the impacts the pipeline would have on our City. Their application does not meet the requirements set out by the National Energy Board for such an application.”

To express the City’s concern about the incompleteness of Kinder Morgan’s application, the City of Burnaby’s legal counsel submitted a letter to the National Energy Board detailing the multiple shortcomings of Kinder Morgan’s application and their potential negative impact on the ability of the citizens of Burnaby to fairly and appropriately participate in the hearing process.

The NEB requires, for example, that Kinder Morgan describe plans and measures to address potential effects of accidents and malfunctions during the operation of the proposed facilities, but Kinder Morgan has not done so. Kinder Morgan states that they do not have the resources to respond to all emergencies, but they do not provide required information on how such emergencies could be addressed.

“They seem to assume that the city will be able to manage these emergencies,” says Mayor Corrigan. “In fact, however, the city has neither the capacity to nor information on how to respond to such emergencies for these new facilities. Kinder Morgan is proposing to almost triple – to 890,000 barrels per day – the amount of oil coming into our city. That’s enough oil each day to fill 56 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“Then they propose to bring five times as many tankers into Burrard Inlet to load that oil for export from Burnaby, and to triple the storage-tank capacity on Burnaby Mountain to 5.6 million barrels and increase the number of storage tanks from 13 to 26, all stored on a hill below Simon Fraser University – in the heart of our populated city — and near streams and drainage systems that flow into Burnaby Lake and beyond. They’re telling our citizens that they have operated the pipeline safely for 60 years, in spite of the fact that there has been more than one spill in Burnaby — the most recent of which, in 2007, devastated a Burnaby neighbourhood and damaged Burrard Inlet habitat with a mere 1,500 barrels of oil. We do not ever want to have to deal with the consequences of the kind of spill this new pipeline and the new storage tanks could cause.”

In addition, the Application proposes two possible new routes through Burnaby, and Burnaby has advised the Board there is insufficient detail in each route to allow for any proper analysis of the disruptions and potential threats to Burnaby. “Contrary to what Kinder Morgan has told the public, more than 90% of the pipeline route proposed for Burnaby is new, and does not follow the existing right of way. If Kinder, Morgan doesn’t know yet where it is going, and hasn’t done the necessary studies, it is simply too soon to go to the NEB, and unfair to Burnaby’s citizens to require us to guess,” says the Mayor.

The letter to the NEB lists Kinder Morgan’s application shortcomings in the areas of: Proposed Route; Infrastructure Conflicts; Environment Effects; Valued Components; Safety and Security; Plans to Address Accidents and Malfunctions; and Consultation. It also makes clear that Kinder Morgan’s application does not meet the requirements of the National Energy Board’s Filing Manual: “It is the responsibility of Trans Mountain to provide the NEB and the public with the information that they need to evaluate and respond to the Project. The burden should not be placed on potential participants in the hearing to go through multiple information requests to supplement the information provided in the application. In light of the deficiencies in information in the application, we submit that the NEB should consider the application to be incomplete.”

The result of a ruling that the application is incomplete may require the NEB to return the application to Kinder Morgan for amendment and possible resubmission, and would delay the process and any hearings until those amendments were made.

To offer residents and businesses information about the proposed expansion, community meetings are being planned by the City of Burnaby.

On December 16, 2013, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMPL) submitted an application to the National Energy Board (NEB), seeking authorization to build and operate its proposed $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which would almost triple oil capacity (from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day) in pipelines running to Burnaby from the Alberta oilsands, and bring approximately five times as many tankers per year into Burrard Inlet (up from about 60 to 400), shipping diluted bitumen from the Westridge Marine Terminal for export. The pipeline would run through Burnaby and would terminate at Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal.

To oppose construction of the pipeline and ensure that many potential negative impacts of the proposed pipeline are considered by the National Energy Board, on February 4, 2014, the City of Burnaby formally applied for Intervener Status in the Hearings that are part of the NEB Public Hearing process.


For additional information, contact:
Office of the Mayor
604 294-7340

France curbs Paris car drivers to combat dangerous smog

France will introduce driving restrictions in Paris on Monday to tackle dangerous pollution levels, the first such ban for twenty years as politicians try to get rid of health-threatening smog days before municipal elections.

Paris is more prone to smog than other European capitals because of France’s diesel subsidies and its high number of private car drivers. A week-long spell of unseasonably warm, sunny weather has recently exacerbated the problem.

Paris pollution hits life-threatening level

Under the scheme, drivers may only use their cars on alternate days, according to the odd or even numbers on their licence plates. Free public transport, including cycle and electric car-sharing schemes, was introduced last week as a visible haze hung over Paris streets.

“Our core objective is to ensure public safety because we want to end this pollution,” Environment Minister Philippe Martin told a news conference on Sunday, warning that the air quality was likely to worsen on Monday.

Last week European Environment Agency (EEA) figures for Thursday showed there was 147 micrograms of particulate matter (PM) per cubic metre of air in Paris — compared with 114 in Brussels, 104 in Amsterdam, 81 in Berlin and 79.7 in London.

Political opponents and car associations criticized the decision, saying it would be tough to police, and accused the Socialist government of conceding to pressure from its coalition Green partners ahead of local elections in late March.

“This is impossible to enforce, stupid and an attempt to win votes,” Pierre Chasseray, president of drivers’ lobby 40 Millions d’Autombolistes, told French television and newspapers.

Opposition UMP chief Jean-Francois Cope and mayor of Meaux in the suburbs of Paris, said there was a lot of confusion about the scheme.

“The ecologists have applied a lot of pressure on the government and the decision was rushed. It lacks coherence, explanation and — on the ground, as a mayor from one of Paris’s suburbs — it’s panic,” he told Europe 1 radio.

The last restricted driving scheme was introduced in October 1997 in response to pollution from heavy diesel fumes. It lasted one day.

© Thomson Reuters, 2014