Kinder Morgan plans to increase the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline system from its current 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. This means building a second pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta, across pristine wilderness, under homes and through the most densely populated areas of BC to the coast. As the good folks of Burnaby, BC learned in 2007 – when, to their shock and horror, Kinder Morgan’s pipeline ruptured – tar sands pipelines are prone to malfunctions.
It also means at least 400 additional tankers carrying the dirtiest oil on Earth through the Vancouver harbour and the Salish Sea every year. Each tanker brings the risk of a catastrophic oil spill that would devastate the marine environment, the coastal economy and BC’s green reputation for decades to come. For the sake of about 50 permanent jobs, the project would threaten thousands more in tourism, fishing and other coastal industries. We have neither the resources nor the technology to ‘clean up’ a tar sands spill, and since even a ‘good’ spill response in our region would only clean up about 10 per cent of the oil, the best way to protect our coast is to leave the oil in the ground.
Each tanker travelling through the Salish Sea also guarantees a ‘carbon spill’ of 375,000 tonnes of climate-changing emissions when the oil it carries is burned and released into the atmosphere. If the expansion project is approved, each year it would be responsible for more carbon than the combined annual emissions of 90 nations around the world. Approving the Kinder Morgan proposal would lock BC into a climate polluting path, away from the climate leadership the province has been taking steps towards, and away from an investment in alternative sources of energy.
We have been helping folks get involved in the federal review process for the new pipeline, and both the Wilderness Committee and Georgia Strait Alliance applied to have our say at the hearings. Both groups were lucky enough to be accepted to participate in the process, but hundreds of other individuals and groups were refused the right to be heard. For more information and updates on the review process, check out our blog entries here.
From local First Nations to the Mayors of Burnaby and Vancouver, people have been lining up to say this new pipeline is a crazy idea. The Salish Sea is no place for an enormous increase in the world’s most destructive type of oil. Our climate simply cannot take it, and a catastrophic oil spill could destroy BC’s coast for a generation. If you haven’t done so already, please sign the pledge to demand climate leadership in this region.