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.

– 30 –

For more information please email

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.

Pipelines and schools

Paul J. Henderson
While Kinder Morgan’s plan to nearly triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline has hit the provincial election campaign trail, work is being done to make parents and educators aware of the proximity of the pipeline to schools.

Retired Unsworth elementary teacher Wendy Major is part of a working group backed by the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF) looking to get the word out about the route of the pipeline.

The Working Group on Pipelines and School Safety has also created a questionnaire that has been issued to 15 schools in Chilliwack along the route of the pipeline.

“I taught for 13 years at Unsworth and

I never knew there was that old Kinder Morgan line going through the farmer’s field,” Major told the Times.

“I’ve lived there in Chilliwack since 1967 and I didn’t even know where the pipeline went until less than a year ago.”

With the help of the Wilderness Committee, the working group has also created a map that shows the route of the pipeline and schools along the way.

In Chilliwack, four schools are “red-flagged” as being within 200 metres of the pipeline and a further 15 are “black-flagged” as “within blocks” of the route.

The closest it runs to a school is at Watson elementary, where the pipeline runs under the back sports field. The line similarly runs near the back sports field at Vedder middle.

The other two close schools include Unsworth and John Calvin elementary, however, Major looked at the map and actually thinks Mt. Slesse is within 200 metres of the pipeline at the spot it crosses Tyson Road.

In the questionnaire, the group asks if respondents have heard about the pipeline, if they know about what is shipped in the pipe and if the schools have emergency procedures specific to a spill of something like diluted bitumen.

Kinder Morgan posted a response Monday on the Trans Mountain project website to the question of pipeline safety and schools.

“Living or being active near our pipeline does not pose a health risk,” the message said, in part.

“Where the pipeline runs near schools, we are open to working with individual schools or districts to fully support their safety efforts and ensure their emergency response plans and ours are co-ordinated.”

Kinder Morgan has proposed a $5.4-billion expansion of its 1,150kilometre pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, increasing capacity from the current 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 890,000 bpd.

While the company maintains safety is paramount and spills are rare, there have been incidents in recent years. In January 2012 a holding tank at the company’s Sumas Mountain terminal site in Abbotsford was the site of a 110,000-litre leak.

There have also been two other recent leaks on the pipeline, including the 2007 rupture of the pipeline in a Burnaby neighbourhood, which sprayed nearby homes with crude oil after a contractor struck the line.

Retired Burnaby teacher Mary Hatch was one of those evacuated in 2007 and is also involved in the pipeline/school working group.

For details on the project from Kinder Morgan, visit And for information on other schools near the pipeline between Hope and Burnaby visit
© Copyright (c) Chilliwack Times

Read more:

Pipelines and School Safety Questionnaire

Mary Hatch explains the problem of children and staff safety in schools located near or above oil and jet fuel pipelines or below tank farms. Mary is a former Burnaby, British Columbia school teacher who volunteers with BROKE – the Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion. Kinder Morgan is a major oil pipeline company that also ships coal from North American ports. Kinder Morgan plans to almost triple its shipment of oil, including diluted bitumen, from the tar sands of Alberta to the Burrard Inlet where tankers will take it to Asia and elsewhere for processing and sale.

Please direct any questions to

School Safety and Pipelines

For immediate release

Burnaby March 13,2013 – BROKE announces the release of Mary Hatch’s recording of School Safety and Pipelines.

School Safety and Pipelines examines the risks for schools that are near oil and jet fuel pipelines and tank farms. A new oil pipeline that would triple capacity is being planned by Kinder Morgan. Safety measures must be established to keep children and staff safe.

School Safety and Pipelines urges schools, teachers, parent associations and school districts to consider the risks and to develop plans for the independent monitoring of oil pipelines and tank farms, as well as evacuation plans in case of an oil pipeline rupture.

School Safety and Pipelines notes that numerous leaks and spills have occurred and the proximity of schools in Burnaby to oil and jet fuel pipelines and tank farms and the devastation that will result in the case of a seismic event or pipeline or tank farm rupture is unacceptable.

The recording can be viewed at

or directly on YT at

Minister of Education: Pipelines and School Safety

Jennifer Moreau

BROKE, a group of local residents against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion, are taking their concerns about schools and pipelines to the provincial government. They wrote this letter to the Education Minister Don McRae today, calling for a B.C. wide plan to deal with any potential risks of oil pipelines close to schools.

Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion
6508 East Hastings Street P.O. Box 44063 Kensington Square, Burnaby, B.C., V5B 1S0


December 14, 2012

Honourable Don McRae:

Companies that transport oil products, or process them, have never been able to guarantee the safety of critical infrastructure, including oil pipelines, terminals, tank farms, sub-stations, refineries or tankers.[i] That is why it is vital that we have safety and health procedures to protect children and staff at schools lying near or adjacent to jet fuel and crude oil pipelines and other oil and refinery infrastructure.

There have been at least 78 leaks, spills and ruptures on the Trans Mountain pipeline alone.[ii] Three have occurred close to schools in the past five years and all required evacuations and one required hospitalizations.

In 2007, for instance, a massive spill from an oil pipeline rupture occurred in the Westridge area of Burnaby. During this incident two hundred and thirty two cubic meters of heavy crude oil was released.[iii] There was no adequate evacuation system in place.

In 2008 a gas pipe rupture occurred overlooking Seaforth Elementary School and a tank farm spill occurred in 2009 very near to Forest Grove as well as Burnaby Mountain Secondary. This sub-station spill involved an estimated 200 cubic meters of oil.

Yet another spill occurred near a Sumas sub-station in 2012. That spill occurred very close to a private school and one hundred and ten cubic meters of oil was release. Evacuations were also required.[iv]

The National Energy Board was very critical of Kinder Morgan’s handling of the Sumas spill because warnings were ignored. The Vancouver Province noted: “The [NEB] report issued earlier this month to interested parties and posted on the NEB site on Nov. 22 found “the leak was detected later than it should have been,” the company’s management of procedures was “inadequate” and that the operator “failed to recognize the leak situation” on two occasions.”[v]

The potential health risks to children in schools near or adjacent to oil pipelines is underlined by the tragedy occurring 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 into the ground beneath a school playground over a decade ago. Evidence suggests that this leak contributed to a cluster of childhood cancer cases at the school, and to the 2008 death of 10-year-old cancer victim Ryan Brune.[vi]

However, despite the real and present risk to the health and safety of students and staff from long-term exposure or the potential for future catastrophic events, the Ministry of Education does not have specific guidelines with respect to schools lying adjacent or near oil pipelines, terminals, tank farms, sub-stations, refineries or tankers despite the fact this infrastructure often lies above schools and within seismically active zones.[vii]

Therefore, the Burnaby Residents Opposing KinderMorgan Expansion expects that the province of British Columbia, the Ministry of Education and the Board of Education in Burnaby will:

1. Prepare a safety plan for all affected schools in BC to respond oil spills and/or exposure to the cocktail of toxic chemicals used to transport oil by pipelines, sub-stations, and tankers or stored in tank farms, refineries;

2. Prepare specific evacuation training for school staff in the event of a jet fuel or crude oil spill or leak since jet fuel lines and crude oil lines pose different types of risk to health and safety, and;

3. Develop a long-term gas and oil leak monitoring plan along all oil pipelines, sub-stations, tank farms and refineries near or adjacent to schools and schoolyards throughout the province.

The issue of child and staff safety at schools near or adjacent to oil pipelines, tank farms, sub-stations and refineries is not new. The Burnaby Residents Opposing KinderMorgan Expansion drew public attention to the matter in a news release reported in the Vancouver Province and Burnaby Now on November 24, 2012.[viii]

The Burnaby Teachers Association also adopted a comprehensive resolution on child and staff safety on December 4, 2012, calling on the Provincial government, the Ministry of Education and the Burnaby Board of Education to investigate the specific health and safety risks of long term exposure to jet fuel and other oil products, including diluted bitumen and the chemicals used to transport it, at schools on or near the present oil pipelines and oil tank farms in Burnaby.[ix]

We look forward to hearing from you on this important matter that affects families and teaching staff throughout the province. Should you require additional information, or if you would like to meet in person to discuss any or all of the proposals recommended by the Burnaby Residents Opposing KinderMorgan Expansion, you may contact me at

On behalf of the Burnaby Residents Opposing KinderMorgan Expansion

[i] Morgan Information Session Stoney Creek Community School Burnaby BC October, 24, 2012.

[ii] Trans Mountain Incident Report Table, National Energy Board, 2012. Column 74; July 24, 2007.

[iii] Trans Mountain Incident Report Table, National Energy Board, 2012. Column 76; May 6, 2009.

[iv] Trans Mountain Incident Report Table, National Energy Board, 2012 . Column 79; January 24, 2012.



[vii] E-mail to the Burnaby School District November 29, 2012

[viii]“ Parents raise concerns about pipeline beneath Burnaby schools.” – axzz2F6n8kRmb

[ix] Burnaby Teacher’s Association Dec 4, 2012 “Resolution #7: Pipeline Resolution.”

Burnaby residents want Education Minister to draft pipeline safety plan for B.C. schools

Burnaby residents are taking their concerns about pipelines close to schools to the provincial government.

BROKE – Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion – wants Education Minister Don McRae to come up with a detailed health and safety plan for all affected B.C. schools to respond to any oil spills “or exposure to the highly toxic chemicals used in modern oil pipelines, sub-stations, tank farms, refineries and tankers as well as specific evacuation training for school staff.”

The residents first raised concerns about the Kinder Morgan’s pipeline running beneath the school grounds at Stoney Creek Community School in late November, the same school where Kinder Morgan held its first local information session on the pipeline expansion plan.

The residents’ letter, dated Dec. 14, also asks for a “long-term gas leak monitoring along all oil pipelines, sub-stations, tank farms and refineries near or adjacent to schools and schoolyards throughout the province.”

BROKE, whose membership includes people whose homes were sprayed with oil in the 2007 pipeline rupture, pointed to another Kinder Morgan spill in 2009, when 200,000 litres of oil leaked from the Burnaby tank farm. According to BROKE’s letter to the minister, there were evacuations in the nearby community.

The letter also mentions a recent motion passed by the Burnaby Teachers’ Association, calling on the provincial government and the Education Ministry and the Burnaby education board to investigate health and safety risks of long-term exposure to jet fuel and other oil products, “including diluted bitumen and the chemicals used to transport it, at schools on or near the present oil pipelines and oil tank farms in Burnaby.”

Outgoing school board chair Larry Hayes told the NOW in late November that the district will be consulting with Kinder Morgan on how to deal with potential oil-related risks.

The Trans Mountain pipeline has been transporting oil products from Alberta to the West Coast since 1953, and Kinder Morgan, the pipeline’s operator, now wants to twin the system to increase shipping capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 750,000. The current pipeline’s right of way runs through two Burnaby school district properties: Stoney Creek Community School and Forest Grove Elementary.

Keep checking this website for updates with a response from the Education Ministry.

To read the full letter, got to Jennifer Moreau’s blog at

© Copyright (c) Burnaby Now

Original source article: Burnaby residents want Education Minister to draft pipeline safety plan for B.C. schools

Read more:

Risks not worth it

Lise Kreps

Dear Editor:

Re: Pipeline is near schools, Burnaby NOW, Nov. 28.

I, too, am a parent concerned about the Kinder-Morgan pipeline’s effect on Burnaby schools. Not only are three schools close to the current pipeline – Stoney Creek, Lyndhurst, and Forest Grove – but it also passes within a block of Burnaby North Secondary School, Capitol Hill Elementary School and Confederation Park Elementary School. At the intersection of Gamma and Dundas, it passes by the corner of my child’s school playground in Confederation Park.

When this same pipeline broke in North Burnaby in 2007, it sprayed oil on houses over 100 metres away, contaminating gardens and even getting inside open windows. 250 residents had to be evacuated.

Surely we cannot afford to increase the risk of this hazard for six of our local schools.

Lise Kreps, Burnaby
© Copyright (c) Burnaby Now

Read more:

Kinder Morgan pipeline may be too close to Burnaby schools.

More schools likely along Kinder Morgan pipeline

Burnaby residents concerned over Kinder Morgan pipeline

Kinder Morgan pipeline may be too close to Burnaby schools.

Burnaby Residents Opposed to KinderMorgan Expansion (BROKE) claim that the numbers of schools are located in the route of the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline are much higher than reported.

“Besides Stoney Creek Community School and Lyndhurst Elementary, I received information this morning that even the Forest Grove Elementary is adjacent to the Trans Mountain right of way in the Forest Grove neighbourhood,” BROKE spokesman Alan Hunter said.

“There are many other schools along the route too. We don’t have an accurate count yet, but we are building it. One problem is that we cannot get an accurate up to date map of the present pipeline routes in Burnaby – there are jet fuel and pipelines carry a mix of products from synthetic crude to diluted bitumen and Kinder Morgan has not announced where the route will be except to say it will generally follow the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline route from Alberta to Burrard Inlet,” he said.

He also said that the residents were appalled to know that the Ministry of Education does not have an evacuation plan for the schools on the jet fuel and crude oil pipeline route.

“We have safety plans for schools and public buildings in case of a seismic event but nothing for children in schools near volatile jet fuel pipelines or near pipelines, tank farms and sub-stations that carry a toxic cocktail of chemicals — some of which, like benzene, that are known carcinogenic,” he said.

BROKE is now following up with the Ministry of Education, all school districts, the BC Federation of Teachers, the Burnaby Teacher’s Association, all PACs on the pipeline routes and near tank farms to develop comprehensive plans for child and worker safety.

A jet fuel line passes within meters of housing developments around Forest Grove and by Stoney Creel Community School. Jet fuel is very volatile and there is no specific safety plan for children or teachers at the school or along the pipeline routes.

Both pipelines present a real and present danger in case of a seismic event or a leak. And Kinder Morgan plans to build a third one to expand the shipment of heavy crude oil shipped at high heat at high temperature with a toxic cocktail of chemicals like cancer-causing benzene.

There was, of course, the pipeline rupture in 2007 in Burnaby that resulted in evacuations and then there were more evacuations in 2009 around Seaforth Elementary School near Government Road and around Forest Grove from a spill, Alan Hunter recalled.

BROKE is not the only organization raising the issue of schools and pipelines. The Burnaby Teachers’ Association also has concerns.

“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,” Association president James Sanyshyn said.

The Wilderness Committee is equally worried about the pipelines and schools, pointing to the US where a Nevada mother launched a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan recently.

Committee spokesperson Ben West called the case a great tragedy. “It’s exactly the type of tragedy we need to prevent from happening here in BC,” he said.

“With Kinder Morgan holding info sessions at several elementary and secondary schools in the province, we hope this news will serve as a warning to local residents about the threats posed by pipelines running through highly populated communities.”

Kinder Morgan is planning to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has been running oil from Alberta to Burnaby since 1953. The company hopes to twin the existing line, more than doubling capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 750,000, along the existing right-of-way where possible.

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

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.

– 30 –

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