Federally owned Trans Mountain pipeline spills light crude oil in Abbotsford

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Georgia Straight

Trans Mountain posted this photo of the Sumas Pump Station prior to clean-up efforts. Photo: Trans Mountain pipeline
Trans Mountain posted this photo of the Sumas Pump Station prior to clean-up efforts. Photo: Trans Mountain pipeline

The Trans Mountain pipeline was restarted on Sunday (June 14) afternoon after an oil spill the previous day in Abbotsford.

According to the company, between 940 and 1,195 barrels of light crude oil was released at the Sumas Pipe Station in Abbotsford.

Trans Mountain said that the oil was "fully contained" on its property.

The Wilderness Committee, on the other hand, released aerial photographs that appear to show oil spreading over green space beside the pump station.

“We’re talking about a major oil spill in a waterlogged field that sits above the Sumas aquifer,” climate campaigner Peter McCartney said in a news release. “This is a disaster.”

The pipeline is owned by the federal government after it agreed to pay Texas energy giant Kinder Morgan $4.5 billion in 2018 for its Canadian assets.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project is a $12.6-billion capital project that taxpayers are also underwriting.

No construction on the expansion project was taking place near where the spill occurred.

Despite this, opponents says this spill reinforces the urgency to halt the megaproject.

Members of the Sumas First Nation say it's the fourth spill in 15 years on their traditional territory.

"We need to have monitors on the ground immediately," Chief Dalton Silver said in a Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs news release. "We need to understand what is going on from our point of view, how much oil spilled, what has been impacted, and what needs to be done to clean it up."

The Wilderness Committee released an aerial photograph that appears to show oil seeping onto a field. Photo: Wilderness Committee
The Wilderness Committee released an aerial photograph that appears to show oil seeping onto a field. Photo: Wilderness Committee

The Tsleil-Waututh First Nation on Vancouver's North Shore is also alarmed by the spill.

"We conducted our own assessment of Trans Mountain using leading science and Tsleil-Waututh's Indigenous law that concluded that oil spills are inevitable, can't be cleaned up, and have devastating effects," Chief Leah George Wilson said. "This most recent spill is another reminder that the risk is too great to accept.

"The Trans Mountain pipeline has already spilled more than 80 times since it began operating."


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