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Kinder Morgan pipeline seeks approval

Richard Gilbert

Kinder Morgan is moving ahead with the federal regulatory process for the twinning of an oil pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., but a local First Nation and environmental groups oppose the plan.


“As Trans Mountain develops its application and project, Trans Mountain is committed to building upon its 60-year operating history and the relationships it has developed with Aboriginal groups, communities, landowners and stakeholders along the pipeline route,” said Trans Mountain Pipeline president Ian Anderson in a press release.

“As president, I am personally committed to being actively engaged in these efforts as the application and proposed project are developed.”

Trans Mountain Pipeline recently submitted a project description to the National Energy Board (NEB) for its proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

The company expects to file an application with the NEB at a later date. The project description provides preliminary information about an expected application, which allows the NEB to initiate preparatory processes.

Trans Mountain expects to file its full application with the NEB late this year.

The Calgary-based company is operated by Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. and owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, which is one of the largest energy companies in North America.

The existing Trans Mountain Pipeline System is about 1,150 kilometres (km) long.

It starts at the Edmonton terminal, runs west parallel to Highway 16 through Jasper National Park, then southwest along Highway 5 to the Kamloops terminal.

The pipeline continues southwest, parallel to Highway 5, to the Sumas Terminal near Abbotsford.

It ends at the Burnaby Terminal.

From the Burnaby terminal, local distribution pipelines connect to Chevron’s Burnaby refinery, the Suncor marketing terminal and the Westridge Marine terminal.

Crude petroleum deliveries to Burnaby and the Westridge Marine Terminal are exported to California, the U.S. Gulf Coast and Asia.

Trans Mountain proposes to expand the existing pipeline system to 141,500 m3/d (890,000 bbl/d from 47,690 m3/d (300,000 bbl/d), in response to growing market demand and customer contractual commitments.

If approved, the proposed $5.4 billion expansion will consist of:

construction of three new 36 inch pipeline segments that are a total length of about 973 km and reactivating two 24-inch buried pipeline segments that have been maintained in a deactivated state;

new and modified facilities, such as 11 pump stations and 21 storage tanks at the Edmonton, Kamloops, Burnaby and Sumas terminals;

removal of the existing tanker dock at the Westridge Marine Terminal and the construction of two new loading docks.

The three new pipeline segments, together with the reactivation of the two existing deactivated segments, will result in two parallel pipelines.

Since the proposed project represents an expansion of the existing pipeline system, it is not clear to Trans Mountain if it would be a designated project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA, 2012).

However, due to the level of public interest in the proposed project, Trans Mountain is requesting that it be a designated project and subject to environmental review under both the NEB Act and CEAA, 2012.

Starting in 2012, Trans Mountain began an engagement process with Aboriginal peoples, landowners, municipalities and stakeholders.

Despite these efforts at consultation, the project faces strong opposition from First Nations and environmental groups.

For example, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation hosted a one-day conference recently to discuss the expansion of the Canadian oilsands and oil industry infrastructure.

The conference began with Tsleil-Waututh Chief Maureen Thomas signing the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from tar sands projects.

“By signing this treaty, we are building alliances with our relations east, west, north and south to protect our lands and waters,” said Thomas.

“People from all backgrounds enjoy Vancouver’s great quality of life and we need to unite to protect this environment for all of our future generations. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation continues to oppose the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Project, which would send 400 tankers a year through the Salish Sea.”

The treaty was created by the Yankton Sioux and Pawnee Nations in an effort to block the development of the Keystone XL pipeline between Alberta and refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The treaty aims to raise awareness about the impact this project will have on the soil, water, air, sacred sites, and way of life of indigenous peoples.

Thomas signed the treaty in the presence of Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

The treaty is also supported by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby and West Vancouver.

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