Alarm over lack of evacuation plans for schools near Kinder Morgan pipeline

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November 22, 20012

BROKE raises alarm over lack of evacuation plans for schools near Kinder Morgan pipeline

BURNABY, BC. – Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE) are raising the alarm regarding emergency earthquake planning for schools near Kinder Morgan’s existing pipeline.

“It’s ironic that Kinder Morgan is holding their information session at Stoney Creek Community School this Saturday given the risk their pipeline poses to that school in the event of an earthquake,” said Elsie Dean of BROKE.

“B.C. schools have good seismic emergency plans but schools close to oil pipelines or oil tank farms have no such plans for emergencies or leaks,” said Dean. “We remember the major oil spill in Burnaby in 2007 where residents had to be evacuated and the gas line rupture in 2008 above Seaforth Elementary School where residents also had to be evacuated. But our schools which are close to heavy oil pipelines, storage tanks and refineries have no evacuation or emergency preparedness plan or even long term monitoring for pipeline corrosion and leaks. We are very concerned about the serious and long term health impacts for students and teachers.”

“Having no specific evacuation plan for an oil pipeline spill puts students and faculty at risk of exposure to a cocktail of dangerous chemicals like benzene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” said Dean. “This ticking time bomb is meters from the school where Kinder Morgan is hosting its information session, and chances are that the pipeline could not withstand even a moderate earthquake.”

“Teachers in Burnaby, to the best of my knowledge, have not received any health and safety training or specific evacuation training to respond to any oil spills or exposure to these highly toxic chemicals,” said Burnaby Teacher’s Association President James Sanyshyn. “The BTA will be raising this issue with our senior administration and trustees and pushing for detailed response plans at all effected schools. Ignorance is no defence – schools must be prepared for the worst case scenarios.”

“In addition to earthquakes, excavator accidents, and other causes of pipeline rupture, we should be concerned about the air and water pollution caused by the normal loading of diluted bitumen into tankers, and normal spillage,” said Karl Perrin of BROKE. “As barrels per day increases, we might expect ‘normal’ spillage to increase.”

Benzene is a known carcinogen according to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the Environment Protection Agency.

High prenatal exposure to PAH is associated with lower IQ and childhood asthma.[13] The Center for Children’s Environmental Health reports studies that demonstrate that exposure to PAH pollution during pregnancy is related to adverse birth outcomes including low birth weight, premature delivery, and heart malformations. Cord blood of exposed babies shows DNA damage that has been linked to cancer. Follow-up studies show a higher level of developmental delays at age three, lower scores on IQ tests and increased behavioural problems at ages six and eight.

“While health impacts of small PAH amounts on specific individuals are difficult to substantiate, the depressing impact on property values of industrial fumes and noise is beyond dispute,” said Perrin.

Kinder Morgan’s “information” sessions have already been criticized by a host of community organizations for offering nothing substantive regarding their plans to double capacity to transport dirty oil from the tar sands, meaning they are nothing more than an exercise in corporate propaganda.

Kinder Morgan is a US based company formed after the bankruptcy and break-up of Enron.

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Representatives of BROKE will be present for the Kinder Morgan information session to monitor the session and engage the public.

Media contacts:
Karl Perrin 604.872.7326, 778.887.7395
Elsie Dean 604.294.5834
BROKE e-mail:
Twitter @NoPipelines