[UPDATE] Burnaby’s anti-pipeline resolution defeated at UBCM

Resolution voted down by narrow margin at Union of B.C. Municipalities annual conference

The City of Burnaby’s anti-pipeline resolution was narrowly defeated at the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual conference on Thursday morning.

Burnaby put forward a comprehensive pipeline and energy transport plan, calling on the UBCM to oppose the Kinder Morgan expansion project, but the resolution was defeated 50.7 per cent to 49.3 per cent.

The vote took place Thursday morning at the conference in Whistler. Mayor Derek Corrigan said it was disappointing but not a “decisive defeat.”

“It was very, very close,” he said on the phone from Whistler. “I don’t think anyone can take great pride in having defeated it.”

According to Corrigan, the resolution was rejected thanks to an urban-rural divide, in which municipalities like Burnaby are out-numbered two-to-one. Corrigan said rural politicians were worried that if they opposed the pipeline, they would get rail cars carrying oil coming through their communities as a result.

“They didn’t want that, so it was a very jealous kind of response,” he said.

Corrigan also said Kinder Morgan representatives were lobbying at the UBCM, hosting parties and buying drinks, trying to persuade the votes to go their way.

Kinder Morgan wants to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs oil from Alberta to Burnaby. The project, now under review by the National Energy Board, would mean expanding the Burnaby Mountain tank farm, building a new pipeline in the city and increasing tanker traffic at the Westridge Marine Terminal, where tankers fill up with crude in the Burrard Inlet.

Burnaby’s resolution characterized the expansion as a project rife with risk and called on the UBCM to oppose the project. The second main point in the resolution called on the provincial and federal governments to consult with local governments, First Nations and the public to come up with a comprehensive pipeline and energy transport plan that includes funding for emergency response.

The defeat marks the second recent stumbling block Burnaby has hit in its campaign to stop the multi-billion-dollar expansion. Just last week, the B.C. Supreme Court rejected Burnaby’s bid for an injunction to stop Kinder Morgan’s survey work in the Burnaby Mountain conservation area, a city-owned park. Kinder Morgan, meanwhile, is waiting on the National Energy Board for its request for a Section 73 order that would force to city to allow the company back on the mountain.

The UBCM conference runs until Friday. Burnaby, Vancouver and Victoria all submitted additional emergency resolutions related to the Kinder Morgan expansion, which are scheduled for debate after NOW deadlines.

When contacted for comment, Kinder Morgan sent an emailed statement from Lizette Parson Bell, the lead for stakeholder engagement with the Trans Mountain expansion project.

“We are pleased with the results of the resolution debated today at the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference. For over 60 years we have had a presence in more than 15 communities in British Columbia. Over the last two years, we have been meeting with the communities along our proposed pipeline right-of-way and we, including our president Ian Anderson, were in attendance at UBCM to continue those discussions and answer questions from delegates,” she wrote. “Our approach, like many organizations in attendance at UBCM, is to have one-on-one conversations about local opportunities and community benefits. We are always seeking ways to listen and be responsive to community interest, comments and concerns.”

Oil Industry Links to Reviewing Spying On Climate Activists

OTTAWA – A civil liberties group is objecting to Canada’s spy watchdog assigning Yves Fortier to investigate alleged spying on environmental activists, citing a conflict due to his former petroleum industry ties.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s lawyer has written to the Security Intelligence Review Committee asking that Fortier “recuse himself from any participation” in the matter since he once sat on the board of TransCanada Pipelines — the company behind the Keystone XL project.

Fortier, one of three review committee members, was recently appointed to lead an investigation into the association’s complaint that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service gathered and shared information about activists opposed to Canada’s energy policies.

The association filed the complaint with the review committee in February after media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider protests and opposition to the petroleum industry as possible threats to national security.

The complaint also cited reports that CSIS had worked with and shared information with the National Energy Board about so-called “radicalized environmentalist” groups seeking to participate in the board’s hearings on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project, which would see Alberta crude flow to westward to Kitimat, B.C.

The groups included Leadnow, ForestEthics Advocacy Association, the Council of Canadians, the Dogwood Initiative, EcoSociety, the Sierra Club of British Columbia and Idle No More, the indigenous rights movement.

“None of these groups are criminal organizations, nor do they have any history of advocating, encouraging, or participating in criminal activity,” says the Feb. 6 complaint.

The CSIS Act is clear that “lawful advocacy, protest or dissent” cannot be regarded as threats to national security, the complaint adds.

Former cabinet minister Chuck Strahl stepped down as chairman of the review committee earlier this year after it was revealed he had registered as a lobbyist on behalf of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.

The complaint says while Strahl “had done the right thing,” remaining review committee members with current or past ties to the petroleum industry — namely Fortier and Denis Losier, who sat on the board of Enbridge NB — should not be involved in the matter. (Losier has since left the committee.)

Paul Champ, a lawyer for the civil liberties association, says a copy of the complaint was sent to CSIS director Michel Coulombe but no reply was received.

Earlier this month, the review committee informed Champ that Fortier had been assigned to the complaint.

Fortier, an accomplished lawyer and former ambassador to the United Nations, has served as a director for many Canadian corporations. He was appointed to the review committee in August 2013.

Fortier’s assignment to the civil liberties association’s complaint prompted a Sept. 25 letter from Champ to the committee reiterating the B.C. group’s position that despite Fortier’s “exemplary reputation,” his involvement creates an appearance of bias.

“Indeed, he is clearly a Canadian of extraordinary accomplishment and rectitude who has made significant contributions to Canada,” the letter says.

“Still, the BCCLA submits that this is a highly serious complaint and should be handled in a manner that is in every way beyond reproach, with justice not only done, but seen to be done.”

Josh Paterson, executive director of the civil liberties association, said he hopes the review committee “will consider it very carefully, and that Mr. Fortier might decide to step back from this one.”

The review committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aside from Fortier, the other current review committee members are Gene McLean, a private security specialist, and Deborah Grey, a former MP who is serving as interim chairwoman.

Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

Two profs will analyze the entire Lower Mainland for active fault lines

Kinder Morgan is hiring two SFU experts to help determine the feasibility of running a new pipeline through Burnaby Mountain. The professors will analyze Lidar images for the entire Lower Mainland, in a first-ever modern study to search for active fault lines.   Photograph

Can Kinder Morgan run a pipeline through Burnaby Mountain? That’s the multi-million dollar question the company is trying to answer by bringing in two experts from SFU, and their project will provide information on earthquake fault lines for the entire Lower Mainland.

Kinder Morgan is working with SFU’s John Clague and Doug Stead to help determine the feasibility of the latest routing option, which involves boring or tunneling through Burnaby Mountain to connect the storage tanks to the Westridge Marine Terminal.

“(Clague and Stead) are going to be assessing all of the surficial geology and some of these geological features, such as the landslide on the north side of Burnaby Mountain,” said Greg Toth, senior project director for the pipeline expansion. “There are questions: Is there active faulting in the Lower Mainland area, or is there not?”

Clague and Stead are both research chairs and professors in SFU’s school of earth sciences. Clague is a geologist who specializes in natural hazards, while Stead is an engineering geologist with a focus on slope instability.

One important piece of missing information for Kinder Morgan is whether Burnaby Mountain has fault lines of breaks in the earth due to landslides – a question geologists have not managed to answer according to a company-commissioned review of geological reports and studies dating back roughly 100 years.

Pipeline controversy aside, Clague said he’s very excited about the project, especially because they will use Lidar imagery to search for faults in the Lower Mainland, not just on Burnaby Mountain.

Lidar is a relatively new technology that uses lasers to scan surfaces to create detailed 3D images. The images Clague will be working with were shot from aircraft. Surface vegetation can be removed from the images electronically, so scientists like Clague are left with topographical maps that are better than those based on conventional aerial photography.  

“It’s totally non invasive. We don’t need to get permitting to acquire it. It’s all acquired from aircraft. It’s a tool to determine if there has been any ruptures from earthquakes,” Clague said. “I’ve always said we have to find out if there are active faults, and it plays into all kinds of risk and hazard related issues.”

Clague and Stead’s findings will very likely have larger implications for the rest of the Lower Mainland, since this is the first-ever survey of its kind for the region.

As for the pipeline, Kinder Morgan is proposing two options for the new mountain route within the same study corridor. The first is horizontal directional drilling, which involves boring a hole through the mountain and pulling the pipeline though with the drill, which would cost the company $24 million. The second option is tunneling the line through the same corridor, which would cost $47 million. The third option is running the pipeline down Burnaby Mountain Parkway, then Hastings Street and Cliff Avenue, which would cost $20 million.

Part of the company’s rationale for going through the mountain was to avoid the Westridge neighbourhood, where many residents don’t want the pipeline in their neighbourhood.

© Burnaby Now

Pipeline opposition growing in Burnaby: city survey

Oil spills cited as number 1 reason resident oppose the project

Burnaby residents are backing the city’s opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline in growing numbers, according to a new online survey commissioned by city hall.

The city first surveyed residents in June and found 61 per cent of respondents (who had an opinion on the matter) were against to the pipeline expansion, but the latest numbers show that opposition has risen to 68 per cent.

“We want to be sure that we are understanding citizens’ ongoing and developing concerns about this project, providing them with all of the information we have available,” Mayor Derek Corrigan said in a news release Monday.

The city hired Insights West to conduct the second survey in September, and according to the results, more local residents are aware of key elements of the project. Those elements include the increased volume of oil shipments Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion would bring. People are also aware the “new” oil is destined for foreign markets and that Kinder Morgan is primarily shipping unrefined bitumen, a tar-like form of petroleum from the Alberta oil sands. Respondents also knew that Kinder Morgan had changed its routing preferences and that in Burnaby, 90 per cent of the route will not follow the existing pipeline’s path, which means the expansion project is more akin to a new pipeline than a twinning project.

Fewer respondents believe the expansion project will bring long-term jobs, something Kinder Morgan has been pitching as a benefit of the project. (That number went from 57 per cent in the first poll to 48 per cent in the most recent.)

Concern about oil spills was the number 1 reason people opposed the pipeline expansion. Two-thirds (68 per cent) of the respondents also indicated they agreed with the city’s oppositional stance on the expansion project.

The poll was based on a five-day online survey, where 506 adults responded. Insights West assumed the margins of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

BREAKING NEWS: Burnaby wins ruling against Kinder Morgan

City of Burnaby wins key ruling with National Energy Board against Kinder Morgan and its proposed $5.4 billion oil sands pipeline.

In what’s considered a huge win for the City of Burnaby’s legal battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the National Energy Board struck down the company’s application to forbid Burnaby city staff from blocking the pipeline company’s test drilling on Burnaby Mountain.

“Kinder Morgan is this arrogant company who assumed they could just go in and take direct action [to remove trees], based on their legal interpretation,” said Burnaby’s lawyer, Gregory McDade, Q.C. Thursday evening.

“They thumbed their nose at the law.”

“It turns out they were wrong,” added the lawyer.

The NEB’s federal decision made public Thursday afternoon means Kinder Morgan can not legally proceed with its pipeline test drilling work in a protected forest area of Burnaby Mountain, until the company returns with a much larger legal offensive, with thorny constitutional implications.

Such a legal battle could have huge ripples for pipeline projects across Canada – deciding if local city governments — and not just the federal Harper government — can have a say in oil pipeline approvals, said McDade.

Burnaby’s Mayor: pipeline can be stopped

Burnaby’s Mayor makes no bones about his opposition to the oil sands pipeline expansion.

“Yes. I’m opposed to it.”

“Ultimately, this is about making money for big oil companies in the Tar Sands,” he said last week.

The Mayor maintains the City of Burnaby’s legal battle has the potential to actually stop the project.

“I think it does. The legal fight that we’re waging is one that hasn’t been done on as a sophisticated of a level. While we are still in a ‘David and Goliath’ relationship, obviously the power of the federal government and this multinational American company are massive,” said Corrigan.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan at anti-Kinder Morgan rally on Sept. 13, 2014 – Photo by Mark Klotz

“We are [still] a city that has its own assets and own capacity… That’s more muscle than what’s been applied in these kinds of battles that has occurred in the past,” added the Mayor.

Kinder Morgan will not proceed with tree removals

In response to the decision, a Canadian spokesperson for the Texas-based energy giant said:

“In its decision today the NEB has dismissed this motion. We are currently reviewing the full decision and considering next steps.”

“We have no intention of resuming invasive work in Burnaby Mountain Conversation Area,” wrote Lizette Parsons Bell, lead Stakeholder Engagement, Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

In early September, against the wishes of the City of Burnaby, Kinder Morgan workers started chainsawing down trees in the city’s conservation area on Burnaby Mountain.

The city filed an temporary injunction to stop the company, but lost in a B.C. Supreme Court ruling last week. However, Thursday’s NEB decision means that court decision is moot, said McDade.

“For now, the Conservation Area is safe,” said McDade.

First Nations declare pact to ‘protect the Salish Sea’ from oil risks

David P. Ball
Cross-border Indigenous Treaty Takes on Kinder Morgan Pipeline
First Nations declare pact to ‘protect the Salish Sea’ from oil risks.
By David P. Ball, Today, TheTyee.ca

Tsleil-Waututh nation’s Gabriel George addresses blanket-wrapped delegates from other signatory First Nations on the eve of a treaty signing against Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion. Photo by David P. Ball.

Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion Designed to Carry Much More Oil
Trans Mountain would be built with room to largely increase export capacity.
Legal Challenge Filed over Restricted Pipeline Hearings
Citizens shut out of Kinder Morgan review process strike back at regulator.
Cities Demand Cross-Exam of Trans Mountain Pipeline Hearing
Vancouver, Burnaby ask federal regulator to reinstate ‘critical’ process.
Read more: Aboriginal Affairs, Energy,

Freshly fed with a wild salmon feast and stirred by drumming and anti-oilsands proclamations, a crowd of several hundred stood en masse to loudly sing Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s anthem on Sunday.

Roughly 500 people crammed into a North Vancouver community centre on the eve of what the band’s culture and language manager Gabriel George dubbed an “historic event” — the signing of an intertribal treaty against Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline through southern B.C.

The International Treaty to Protect the Salish Sea was signed by nine First Nations straddling both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

From mid-October through November, the National Energy Board will launch a series of B.C. hearings on the Trans Mountain project, starting with indigenous community input in Chilliwack, Kamloops and Victoria.

The pipeline is projected to cost $5.4 billion and pump an estimated 890,000 barrels of diluted bitumen daily over a thousand kilometres from Alberta’s oilsands to Burnaby. Opponents fear the boost in daily tanker traffic and risk of ruptures could harm the environment and local economies.

“We really need to look after the land,” George told the crowd, as the band’s elected councillors wrapped treaty delegates in black blankets as a gesture of thanksgiving before the signing. George explained that blankets are a symbol of “sacrifice” and blessing.

The treaty is based in indigenous traditional law. It does not carry any official blessing of the federal or provincial governments, and has no legal authority under Canadian law.

“Coast Salish people stand united by our ancestral ties to each other and to the Salish Sea,” the pact declares. “Now the waters of the Salish Sea and the rivers that drain into it are threatened by proposals to drastically increase shipping of oil and bitumen and the inevitable risk of oil spills.

“By affixing our signatures hereto, we the undersigned commit ourselves to doing everything in our lawful power to protect our territories from the Kinder Morgan expansion project, and any other tarsands projects that would increase the transportation of tarsands oil through our territories.”

Kinder Morgan found itself in conflict this month with the City of Burnaby over 13 trees the company chopped down in a city park in order to conduct survey work for its pipeline. The city applied for an injunction in B.C. Supreme Court on Sept. 9, but the court rejected it.

The National Energy Board previously ruled in Kinder Morgan’s favour as it prepares the groundwork for the Trans Mountain pipeline, but Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan vowed to continue his battle against the project through his municipality. — David P. Ball

Subject of legal challenges

The treaty includes seven clauses, including a declaration that Salish ancestral laws require the protection of the sea and its tributaries from harm; that First Nations possess the “authority and duty to protect” the region; and that tankers and pipelines as currently proposed are “illegal as a matter of our ancestral laws, Canadian constitutional law, and international law on the rights of indigenous peoples.”

But despite legal challenges, Kinder Morgan has not been found in violation of Canada’s laws in the courts.

In August, the City of Vancouver requested a judicial review of the company’s Trans Mountain proposal in the Federal Court of Appeal, arguing that the National Energy Board should consider global climate change in making a decision.

In 2013, the Coldwater Indian Band near Merritt launched a judicial review application in federal court arguing that the government broke its constitutional duty to protect First Nations’ interests.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is a signatory, requires “free, prior and informed consent” for the development of indigenous territories.

Although it is unclear what legal weight Canadian courts would grant the treaty, it could be cited in court as proof that aboriginal consent was not obtained.

Not the first pact

Jeri Sparrow of Musqueam nation said her band signed the treaty as a sign of respect for indigenous traditional, or ancestral, laws — “the highest law of the land” for her people.

Across the Burrard Inlet from Tsleil-Waututh nation is the proposed Burnaby terminal for Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion, which if approved would increase oil tanker traffic from five to 34 ships a month. Photo by David P. Ball.

Also adding their endorsements were the Lummi nation in Washington State, and north of the border Squamish, Sto:lo, Kwantlen, Tulalip, Sts’ailes, Xaxli’p and St’at’imc nations.

The pact concludes with an exhortation to “third parties,” including other First Nations, non-indigenous governments, unions and businesses to recognize and uphold the treaty.

The International Treaty to Protect the Salish Sea is not the first such traditional pact proclaimed by First Nations on pipeline issues. The Save the Fraser Declaration, created in 2010, now bears more than 170 signatures in opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.

Likewise, in late 2012 First Nations along the proposed route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL bitumen pipeline to Texas signed a Spiritual Declaration against the oilsands.

Read more: Aboriginal Affairs, Energy,

David P. Ball is a staff reporter with The Tyee. Send him tips or comments by email, find him on Twitter @davidpball, or read his previous Tyee reporting here.

Impact of a Fraser River oil spill

Re: Fraser River oil spill: 5 years to recover, Sept. 10

In its study on the environmental impact of a spill of 1.25 million litres of diluted bitumen into the Fraser River, Kinder Morgan compared the spill to the 2010 spill of diluted bitumen in the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

That spill is still not cleaned up properly after four years and $1 billion. Experts say only 5-15 per cent of dilbit can ever be cleaned up. The damage to marine life on the ocean floor, river banks and shoreline is irreversible. Large areas of ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico are devoid of marine life since the spill there in 2010. The combination of oil and the dispersant used to contain the oil have produced tumours in the shrimp. What would happen to our salmon?

In the Kalamazoo spill, chemicals from the diluted bitumen vaporized. Many people were evacuated for up to three weeks. They experienced nausea, vomiting, nosebleeds, headaches, coughing and dizziness. The long term effects of the benzene, toluene, hydrogen sulphide and other chemicals need to be fully evaluated and studied.

According to Kinder Morgan documents, there is about a 34 per cent chance of a spill in Burrard Inlet within the next 10 years.

We do not have adequate information regarding this potential spill and the impact to the environment and to the people who live around the inlet. The possibility of a worst case spill in Vancouver harbour from the increased tanker traffic is a serious health and environmental issue that Kinder Morgan has failed to adequately address in the application.

How can the people approve a project without the data necessary to evaluate it?

JANICE EDMONDS, North Vancouver

Maps of Burnaby Mountain Showing Drilling Sites

Maps of Burnaby Mountain showing Centennial Way, conservation area, and how to get to the clear cut and survey areas.

1. Map showing the trail to the clear cut area from Ridgeview Rd., near the base of Burnaby Mountain under the North Ridge.

clear cut area

2. Map of the on Burnaby Mountain Conservation area showing details.

Map of Burnaby Mountain

3. Simplified map of Burnaby Mountain showing Centennial Way and roads to the Horizon Restaurant.

Map of Burnaby Mountain

4. Map of the on Burnaby Mountain Conservation area showing: 1) the survey area below the Kinder Morgan oil storage area, 2) Kinder Morgan’s proposed drilling area by the parking lot on Centennial Way, 3) the clear cut area where further drilling is planned, 4) the survey area where drilling is planned near the Westridge Terminal below the North ridge of Burnaby Mountain. These areas need to be monitored for kinder Morgan activity, with particular attention to the clear cut area at 3.

Map of Burnaby Mountain Conservation area

5. Additional Maps

Burnaby Mountain.pdf

Burnaby Mountain

Map Burnaby Mountain Trails
Burnaby Mountain Trails