Oil spills could flow to Burrard Inlet, Fraser River: Kinder Morgan application

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Wanda Chow
If a rupture or spill occurs on the Trans Mountain pipeline, crude oil could flow through Burnaby neighbourhoods on the way to local waterways, including the Fraser River, according to Kinder Morgan’s application for an expansion of the pipeline.

On Friday, Burnaby-Douglas NDP MP Kennedy Stewart pointed out to the media the spill maps his staff discovered buried amid the company’s 15,000-page application to the National Energy Board (NEB) to almost triple capacity on its pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby to increase exports of oil sands crude to overseas markets.

The maps are based on modeling the company has done as to where the oil would go after a pipeline rupture or spill.

“Liquid flows to the lowest point and in Burnaby that means oil passing through dense residential neighbourhoods, parks, schools, golf courses, community amenities, on its way to Burrard Inlet to the north, and Burnaby Lake, Deer Lake and the Fraser River to the south,” said Stewart.

The application also provides a definition of “high consequence areas” where the most significant negative impacts would be felt, and Burnaby is home to all seven types of areas including those with a high population density, and containing parks, waterways and environmentally-sensitive areas, he said.

But according to Kinder Morgan, it’s not all bad news.

“Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers,” it says in its application.

“I don’t think Burnaby families, whose children attend schools near the oil spill flow areas, are interested in temporary, hazardous waste, clean-up jobs,” Stewart said. “My constituents are telling me they are worried about their health and safety, their property values and overall quality of life in their neighbourhoods.”

Stewart has turned his constituency office on Hastings Street into an unofficial registration centre for people seeking intervenor status in the NEB’s hearing process for the proposal. Staff and volunteers are available to assist people in the online application process.

He’s also hosting a second information meeting on how people can apply to participate in the National Energy Board’s hearing process on the Trans Mountain application. It will be held Sunday, Feb. 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Confederation Community Centre, 4585 Albert St. in Burnaby. Info: 604-291-8863 or LetBCDecide.ca.