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Lower Mainland communities will decide this week whether to present a united front challenging Kinder Morgans proposed oil pipeline expansion to Burrard Inlet.
The company wants to build a second parallel pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, at the same time increasing oil tanker traffic and enlarging the Westridge Marine Terminal.
But Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew has repeatedly written the company of his communitys concerns about the proposed expansion, and Metro Vancouver politicians will vote on whether to throw their weight behind Belcarra.
The proposed expansion of the WMT involves tripling the size of the facilitys footprint on Burrard Inlet accompanied by a significant encroachment into Burrard Inlet, Drew and council wrote Kinder Morgan (KMC).
The proposed increase in the size of terminal has consequences for both Burrard Inlet itself and the communities surrounding Burrard Inlet, but KMCs proposal does not mention recompense for tripling its encroachment.
What does KMC intend to give back to Burrard Inlet and its neighbours surrounding the WMT?
Metro Vancouver staff are advising politicians to side with Belcarra, while Kinder Morgan is presenting itself as a conservation-minded company.
Kinder Morgan executive Margaret Mears replied to Drew: An environmental protection plan is being developed for the Westridge Marine Terminal as part of the proposed expansion project which will include detailed mitigation plans for the construction phase and ongoing operations. As you suggest and have discussed with our team, expectations today are for best practices to include local enhancements of current environmental conditions.
As you know we support this view and we will continue to involve local marine expertise and local communities in the identification and design of the program.
Among the disagreements between the two parties: Drew maintains oil-containment booms were inadequate to contain a 2007 spill in Burnaby, while the company counters that the booms were effective in containing the majority of the oil.
Drew told The Province hes trying to ensure the best result possible if the pipeline plan is approved.
Theyve got to do it right. Theyve got to walk the talk, said Drew. We want to ensure that the best available technologies are used.
If Metro Vancouver follows staff recommendations, letters will be sent to both Kinder Morgan and the National Energy Board endorsing Drews concerns and requesting that these issues be addressed during the National Energy Board review process.
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