Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion

BROKE is a group of local residents whose mission is:
• To prevent the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, and related infrastructure in Burnaby, and related supertanker traffic, through education, advocacy and partnership;
• To oppose the degradation of our city, our neighbourhoods, and the natural habitat, that an oil pipeline and related industrialization of Burrard Inlet would bring;
• To raise awareness of Burnaby residents about how the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic would impact our community and local environment;
• To promote a clean and sustainable energy future.

Pipeline too close to home for co-op

Lil Cameron had the feeling something was up when she saw surveyors out on Government Street on Wednesday.

That was followed on Thursday morning in the same area by a crew using unmarked vehicles. They were spray painting orange blotches every few feet on the ivy covering the concrete retaining wall that borders the Halston Hills Housing Co-operative where she lives.

Cameron approached City of Burnaby workers who were working on a fire hydrant nearby and asked what was going on at the wall. “They said, ‘It’s not us, it’s Kinder Morgan.’ “

Read more…

Child Safety, Zoning By-laws and the Oil Industry


Burnaby: December 31, 2012

Residents of Burnaby call on Mayor Derek Corrigan to scrap city by-laws that allow schools, daycares and residential developments to be built near refineries, oil tanks, substations and pipelines. The risk of leaks and spills of combustible oil and carcinogenic gases is unacceptable and should have never been allowed.

Elsie Dean of BROKE says, “We should not have to wait for a major catastrophe before we act. Schools and daycares should never have been built near oil facilities in the first place and we need to ensure that they never will again. Like gun control, we should be thinking about laws to protect children before a crisis occurs. Schools and housing developments must be protected from carcinogenic and combustible gases.”

The potential health risks to children in schools near or adjacent to oil pipelines is underlined by the tragedy in Fallon, Nevada. A lawsuit launched by a Nevada mother against Kinder Morgan alleges that the company failed to adequately monitor and repair a pipeline that was leaking jet fuel beneath a school playground and that the leak contributed to a cluster of childhood cancer cases at the school and the death of one child.

There are warnings about noxious gases strategically placed throughout the areas where tank farms, oil pipelines and substations have been allowed. Yet schools like Burnaby North Senior, and Forest Grove and Seaforth Elementary sit close to, or below, major oil facilities. Others like Stoney Creek and Lyndhurst Elementary and a YMCA childcare center sits just meters from both highly combustible jet fuel and heavy oil pipelines that carry a soup of toxic chemicals.

There have been major spills and leaks near these and other schools, daycares and residences throughout the years 2007 , 2008 , 2009 and 2010 . All have required an emergency response and evacuations, costing tax payers thousands of dollars. In January 2012, residences and a private school also had to be closed in Sumas.

Tax payers have always borne the costs associated with emergency response, including evacuations and medical care resulting from oil pipeline failure, oil spills and noxious gases from tank farms and substations.

Commenting on the cost to tax payers, Elsie Dean makes the point that “The companies that are found responsible for spills and oil pipeline ruptures should pay not only for clean up, but for all emergency response and medical care as well. The cost to tax payers of emergencies has not been factored into the expense of oil pipelines, tank farms, and sub-stations. Nor have the costs of routine air monitoring near the oil refinery on Burrard Inlet. When Kinder Morgan promises a few million in tax payments, it should be balanced against the hidden costs to tax payers of maintaining a huge oil infrastructure in Burnaby.”

In response to the concern about children’s health in schools and daycares near oil infrastructure, BROKE calls on all levels of government as well as the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to recommend that oil industries should not be zoned near schools, daycares and residences and that all measures must be employed to separate dangerous industries from homes and schools. Children’s safety should be the first priority for every level of government.

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For more information please email info@brokepipelinewatch.ca

1. The Burnaby Teacher’s Association has already passed a resolution on December 4, 2012 to demand the Burnaby school district monitor oil pipelines for leaks and develop comprehensive evacuations plans for schools near tank farms, refineries and substations.
2. Kinder Morgan plead guilty to negligence in the 2007 pipeline rupture and found negligent by the National Energy Board in the 2012 incident.
3. http://www.mynews4.com/news/local/story/fallon-cancer-cluster/–P1ofP56UqVNbV3tPtJDg.cspx

Westridge residents complain of intense fumes

Westridge residents are sounding the alarm after noticing intense fumes coming from Kinder Morgan’s nearby marine terminal on Burrard Inlet in the last couple months.

Laura Dean has lived in the North Burnaby neighbourhood for 25 years and was disturbed back in August to come across a strong nausea-inducing smell while out for a run along the Drummond bike path.

It was so strong she had to close up all her windows and doors at home. Living next to a facility that loads crude oil and petroleum products onto tanker ships, Dean is used to certain odours once in a while.

But this wasn’t the usual. “After 25 years you have some idea of what’s normal,” she said. “It’s invisible. What are we breathing when it’s not detected until it gets to that level?”

The problem is only evident when there are tankers at the terminal, lately about once a week, she noted.

That also happens to be when her dog, Lacy, a seven-year-old, border collie-labrador cross has been experiencing diarrhea, lethargy and a reluctance to go outside, issues that only started when Dean first noticed the fumes.

Dean said she and other neighbours have become less apt to complain to the pipeline company because past efforts have resulted in no response or action.

“With the expansion and all of that, now we’re thinking this is getting ridiculous. If this is what it is with only 30 tankers [annually], we don’t even want to think of what it’s going to be when it’s 300 to 400 tankers.”

Neighbour Hartwig Boecking, 70, noticed the same fumes on Aug. 1 and complained, first to Kinder Morgan and then, when he got no response, to Metro Vancouver which regulates air quality in the region.

Only then, he said, did he learn the problem was a result of an equipment problem.

For 26 years, Boecking has lived in his Westridge home facing the inlet which is one of four that could be directly affected by a proposed routing option for the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.

He’s particularly concerned about the recent odour problem after learning that the oil sands crude being exported overseas from the pipeline to the tanker ships is diluted to allow it to flow freely. The chemicals used to dilute it include arsenic and benzene.

“This is really serious stuff, especially for children,” he said. “We have my granddaughter living with us, there are many children in the neighbourhood.”

Boecking understands that accidents can happen, and odour control equipment can malfunction.

Still, “on such an important matter, don’t you have warning system?”

Last week’s protest by Greenpeace Canada at the terminal only added to his worries.

“If Greenpeace can enter the compound in five minutes, what kind of safety [system is there]?”

Burnaby-Douglas New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has experienced the fumes first hand.

While walking through the area’s trails with his wife over the summer, “we noticed one day we could hardly keep our eyes open, the fumes were so strong,” Stewart said.

“I can’t imagine a massive expansion is going to make it any better.”

He plans to apply for intervenor status at the National Energy Board hearings once Kinder Morgan makes its official expansion application and will be lobbying in an attempt to ensure Burnaby residents are allowed to have input into the project.

Lexa Hobenshield, manager of external relations for Kinder Morgan Canada, said the company has received four odour complaints since Aug. 1.

“Of the four concerns raised, three were determined to be attributable to our operations. In one instance, a device on our odour control equipment was not functioning as it should and was replaced the next day,” Hobenshield said by email. “The other two complaints occurred during normal operations. In one instance we were loading a vessel, and in the other case, routine tank activity was underway at the time.”

She said all complaints are taken very seriously. In the recent cases, “All instances were thoroughly investigated and although we regret any inconvenience to our neighbours, no concern for public health and safety were found as a result of KMC’s investigations, supported by Metro Vancouver air quality data,” she said.

Its investigations of odour complaints “involves system checks at our central control centre and an in person investigation at the facility or location of the complaint.

“We consistently review all aspects of our operations and encourage the public to report odour complaints to us. Odour complaints can be reported to 1-888-876-6711.”


Local pipeline paths revealed



Kinder Morgan has revealed possible routing options for the pipeline expansion plan through Burnaby, and the company is trying to avoid residential neighbourhoods and private property.

Kinder Morgan is proposing to run the twinned oil pipeline from North Road, on the Coquitlam border, along Lougheed Highway to Underhill Avenue, where it will take a right, past a gasoline distribution station that sells Esso products. From there, it’s a short stretch to the Kinder Morgan storage terminal, or tank farm, on Burnaby Mountain. The corridor route then heads from the north-west corner of the tank farm and then west along Burnaby Mountain Parkway, down a short stretch of Hastings Street, before turning right and running north close to Cliff Avenue and the Burrard Inlet Conservation Area, before connecting to the Westridge Marine Terminal, the dock where tankers fill up with crude.

The “study corridor,” as Kinder Morgan calls it, is not the exact location of the pipeline; it’s a wide berth the company is examining and submitting as part of its facilities application to the National Energy Board later this year. The exact route of the line will be somewhere within the study corridor.

There is an alternate proposed route, in case there are problems with the first option (see map above for details). Kinder Morgan’s existing Trans Mountain pipeline runs oil from Alberta to the West Coast and has been in place since the early 1950s.

The company wants to twin the existing line, bringing capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 890,000. For most of the 1,150-kilometre line, the company is sticking to its existing right-of-way for the expansion, but because development in Burnaby has increased over the decades, Kinder Morgan is proposing these new routes that mostly stick to main roads, railway tracks and trails.

Kinder Morgan spokesperson Mike Davis explained that the company is not in the business of expropriation.

“The pipeline today doesn’t go under any houses or anything like that. It’s in a dedicated right-of-way or in a street. The term expropriation, in its strictest definition, is power that municipalities have to take property. We don’t have that power as a pipeline operator,” Davis said.

However, Davis added, if the National Energy Board approves the project, Kinder Morgan could be granted “right of entry” to access property, meaning the company could get approval to build the pipeline on someone’s property without taking ownership.

“It starts out with our application, providing this study corridor, and that gets refined down to an actual route,” Davis said.

If there are issues on the route that can’t be resolved, then there are two processes afterward to try and come to a compromise, and if those fail, then the company may be granted right of access.

When asked if Kinder Morgan may need to access people’s property in Burnaby, Davis said they would try not to.

“We will do everything we can to avoid it,” he said. “I can’t say with any certainty we won’t come to that in some small examples. . I can’t say for sure we won’t come to that, but we will do everything we can. We have to live with these landowners for another 60 years. We don’t want to end up in an adversarial situation, so we will do everything we can to resolve that. But it is a large project. It’s a federally regulated project, because it’s in the national interest, and we ultimately have to find a balance.

“There are parts of the route that are going through streets, so it would be naïve to say we’re not affecting residential property, but it’s not actually on the property,” he added.

Kinder Morgan is collecting public feedback on the routing options. Go to talk.transmountain.com/ burnaby#tool for maps, more information and feedback opportunities.

Read more: http://www.burnabynow.com/news/Local+pipeline+paths+revealed/8591160/story.html#ixzz2Xfo2YnAc

Heavy Metal Contamination at SFU

Comparison of levels of contamination for various heavy metals at two time periods in different creeks around Simon Fraser University. The issue is why such levels and such disparity between creeks. We will be posting articles and video on the contamination of ground and run-off water at the SFU Burnaby campus over the next week.

Page 1 showing Salt Creek

SFU and Stoney Creek Sampling January 27-Februrary 19, 2010

Page 2 showing Tributary 3B

SFU and Stoney Creek Sampling January 27-Februrary 19, 2010

72 per cent of Burnaby-Douglas opposes Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

Wanda Chow
Updated: January 19, 2012 10:15 AM

A survey commissioned by Burnaby-Douglas New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart shows 72 per cent of households in his constituency oppose a proposal to twin Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.

The company has stated that until Jan. 19, it is putting a call out for secure and binding contracts from customers, both domestic and foreign oil companies, for the additional capacity.

If an adequate market emerges through the contracts, to last 15 to 20 years, the company is expected to begin the process of applying to the National Energy Board to double the capacity of the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to North Burnaby and currently carries 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

Stewart’s automated telephone survey, conducted between Dec. 5 and 7 by Direct Leap Technologies, called just about every household in his constituency, almost 35,000 homes.

Of those, more than 4,500 participated, or 13 per cent, which is considered a high response rate for automated surveys, he said.

Of the 70 per cent of decided respondents, 28 per cent support the twinning, 44 per cent want to keep the existing pipeline as is, and 28 per cent want the pipeline removed altogether. Stewart combined the latter two groups to conclude 72 per cent oppose the expansion proposal.

He noted that 30 per cent of respondents answered “I don’t know.” That shows “there’s lots of room for discussion here and a need for it if the proposal goes ahead.”

Stewart said, “The level of opposition is quite high even though the project hasn’t been formally proposed and people don’t know exactly how they’ll be affected.”

Then again, the 44 per cent who support keeping the pipeline as is shows “they’re being realistic here.” That meshes with comments he hears when doorknocking, that many people recognizes its role in supplying the region with gasoline, jet fuel and other petroleum products.

He noted that the proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines are continually making news headlines lately, but little has been reported about the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

“It’s been flying under the radar and I think if Kinder Morgan does go ahead with the proposal it has the potential to garner the national and international attention that the other pipeline proposals have received.”

Stewart’s interpretation of the survey results is that while many in the community support Kinder Morgan’s operations in Burnaby, an expansion of its pipeline capacity has the potential to cause that support to drop.

“That’s one of the risks they’d be taking if they went ahead with this proposal would be they would lose support within the community.”

A Mustel poll showed 69 per cent of British Columbians do not support a proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, he noted.


Aging pipeline is worrisome


Dear Editor:

I would like to express my concerns with the existing Kinder Morgan oil pipeline. Every pipeline has a service life.

In other words, they do not operate safely forever.

The existing line was installed approximately 60 years ago. Materials and installation specifications were very different compared to today’s standards. The coating on this line is probably coal tar enamel and is susceptible to disbonding over time. This exposes the steel which is exposed to moisture, chlorides, etc., and corrosion is inevitable.

By the way, coal tar enamel contains asbestos. Steel pipe in the ground will corrode despite cathodic protection.

C.S.A. and Oil and Gas Commission standards require regular testing to determine the integrity of buried pipelines. External corrosion can be identified by close interval surveys, current mapping and most importantly, external corrosion direct assessment, which is recommended by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.

Oil pipelines are susceptible to internal corrosion. Regulations require assessment of the integrity of the inside of the pipe which requires the insertion of a device called a “pig” that detects internal corrosion, dents, metal thickness and other anomalies. New pipelines have devices called line breaks, which shut down a line if there is a drop in pressure, not the case with the Inlet Drive leak.

Do you think that Kinder Morgan has done their due diligence in testing? Because enforcement of regulations in Canada is almost nonexistent. In defence of the commission, they are badly understaffed.

In short, the existing pipeline should be abandoned. Again, every pipeline has a service life. How long does Kinder Morgan expect this line to operate safely? Rust never sleeps.

Steve Hill, Burnaby

© Copyright (c) Burnaby Now

Read more: http://www.burnabynow.com/technology/Aging+pipeline+worrisome/8068079/story.html#ixzz2NItDA6iz

How high school students discovered a chemical leak: Chevron’s MTBE spill

From Jennifer Moreau’s blog at Burnaby Now(http://blogs.canada.com/2011/01/28/chevrons-mtbe-spill-how-high-school-students-discovered-the-chemical-leak-in-2001/).

“As you know, we’ve been following the ongoing Chevron oil leak at the North Burnaby refinery since last spring. Local residents have raised the issue of the MTBE leak at Chevron, which happened years ago. MTBE is an additive to gas that was banned in the U.S. after it started showing up in drinking water all over the country. Chevron in Burnaby used to use MTBE up until 2000, and apparently it had leached into the ground because the tank it was in had a rusted-out bottom.

I was chatting with Judi Marshall about Chevron’s history, and she mentioned that the MTBE leak (the stuff that was getting offsite) was discovered by some local high school students in 2001. She sent this story from 10 years ago… (keep reading below, there are a couple other posts on the same subject.)”


By Murray Dobbin

May 29 2001 – There’s a story from British Columbia that warrants exposure across the country because it speaks to the issue of citizenship — the flesh and blood kind, the corporate variety and their differences. Let’s call this a comparison-shopping column in deference to our dominant cultural paradigm. Which of the following citizens would you choose?

It all started with two high school students, Matthew Clive, 17, and Kevin Kelln, 16, doing a science project for their grade 11 class at North Burnaby’s Alpha Secondary School. The goal was “to determine the effects of the Chevron refinery on the surrounding environment and community.” The refinery in question is on Burrard Inlet. When they got the results of their groundwater tests back from the private lab, they discovered the water, taken from north of the refinery, was contaminated by MTBE, a gasoline additive.

They then discovered that MTBE is so potentially dangerous and so persistent once it enters the environment that a CBS 60 Minutes report referred to it as “the biggest environmental crisis of the next decade.” The United States announced a phase-out plan last year. California has moved even faster to discontinue its use because it has more than its share of the hundreds of public water systems that have been ruined by the stuff. Possible human health problems include cancer, asthma and depression of the central nervous system.

When Mr. Clive and Mr. Kelln revealed their findings to the community, with the help of the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, Chevron simply denied there was a problem. Their community affairs manager Ray Lord told the media “There is nothing operationally here that would indicate any problems.” That was on April 8. But Chevron had a different story for the B.C. Ministry of the Environment (ME). Four days earlier they had told ME staff about “finding a ‘pool’ of MTBE-contaminated groundwater” on their site with concentrations “significantly higher than those found off site.”

Matthew says Chevron called him at home and told him he wasn’t being “helpful.” Chevron’s manager, Tom Kovar, penned a letter to the company’s Community Advisory Panel decrying the “unwarranted alarm” that was being created.

Stay with me now, dates are important here. Just days after the students revealed their findings, Burnaby’s Director of Engineering did his own testing of the same sites examined by the students. He found levels three times as high as theirs. He informed Chevron of the test results on April 17, two days before Mr. Kovar wrote his letter.

In the meantime, Burnaby City Council was becoming infuriated with being kept in the dark. At two heated meetings it discovered that the Ministry of the Environment had a verbal agreement with Chevron not to reveal the on-site MTBE contamination to the public or to Burnaby council. It wanted Chevron to have time to get its story straight, something “we do all the time” admitted ME spokesman Ray Rob. The Ministry, said Mr. Rob, was aware of a “plume” of contamination covering over 2,500 square feet at a depth of 100 feet. Readings were as high as 2,000 times greater than that found by Burnaby’s Engineering Department.

But that’s not all. The flurry of testing resulting from the students’ chance findings has now revealed that the “plume” of MTBE also contains Benzene. And if you think MTBE is bad, benzene is one of the world’s nastiest chemicals. We know it causes lymphoma, leukemia and other blood diseases. Chevron’s Ray Lord informed me that Workers Compensation inspectors did an unscheduled examination of the site and were satisfied that workers were not in any danger.

I asked Matthew Clive what he thought about all the commotion he and Kevin had caused. “If we hadn’t done this, no one would have known. But the thing that concerned me the most was the secret agreement that, as long as all the contamination remained on the [Chevron] property, they wouldn’t say anything publicly. Then it was off the site and they still didn’t say anything.”

Chevron says the off-site levels are barely above the acceptable levels for drinking water. But that’s hardly the point. There wasn’t supposed to be any MTBE off site. And this sixty-five-year-old refinery is falling apart, with numerous accidents and spills over the past few years. What was Chevron planning to do when it closed down? This is where disasters like the Sydney Tar Ponds get started. Despite this, corporate lobby groups insist that voluntary self-regulation is the way to go. God help us.

One last note. Corporate citizen Chevron is part owner of rights to offshore oil in northern B.C. British Columbians might want to ask how they could trust Chevron with such a delicate operation (if it goes ahead) when we can’t even trust them to keep their own site clean or tell the public about contamination?

Maybe we could ask real citizens Matthew and Kevin to keep an eye on them.

And here’s a press release from SPEC, the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation.


Burnaby students find leak of toxic gas additive near Chevron refinery

VANCOUVER- Two grade eleven science students from North Burnaby’s Alpha Secondary have found toxic methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) gas additive draining into Burrard Inlet from a pipe below Chevron’s North Burnaby refinery.

Matthew Clive, 17, and Kevin Kelln, 16, were conducting a science project to determine “the effects of the Chevron oil refinery on the surrounding environment and community.”

According to their report, Clive and Kelln took samples around the refinery and in adjacent Confederation Park ” which is designated as a dog park and inhabited by animals. The trail is utilized on a daily basis and many people continue down to the ocean and along the railroad tracks.” A sample from a pipe halfway between the refinery and Chevron’s nearby tank farm showed a level of 6.9 micrograms/litre of MTBE. Clive and Kelln say that “when surveyors went and tested the ground water in California the highest recorded contamination was recorded at 5.6 micrograms/litre.”

MTBE is added to gasoline as an octane booster and is notoriously difficult to contain. Even tiny amounts of MTBE can poison water supplies such as happened in Santa Monica, Calif. A 1998 University of California study determined that “MTBE is an animal carcinogen with the potential to cause cancer in humans.” California is phasing out MTBE.

Chevron’s North Burnaby refinery is a major MTBE producer. Last May, when 80,000 litres of MTBE leaked from a tank at the refinery, Chevron and Environment Ministry officials assured the material was contained on site. After two workers cleaning up the spill were injured in an explosion a week later, the Environment Minister called for a safety review of the accident plagued refinery. The review is expected to be completed by early 2002.

Whatever the results of the review, Clive and Kelln have reached their own conclusion. “The Chevron Refinery in North Burnaby has a negative effect on the community and the environment,” the two students say in their report.

Clive and Kelln will release full details of their study at a Science Fair at the UBC Student Union Building on April 6 and 7.

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