Kinder Morgan Pipeline
US energy company Kinder Morgan is proposing to build a new pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. in order to export tar sands crude to international markets in the U.S. and Asia.
US energy company Kinder Morgan is proposing to build a new pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. in order to export tar sands crude to international markets in the U.S. and Asia.49.3096797111 -123.141975403
US energy company Kinder Morgan is proposing to build a new pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. in order to export tar sands crude to international markets in the U.S. and Asia. The proposed new pipeline would increase the capacity of the system from the current 300,000 barrels per day to at least 890,000 barrels per day, bringing over 400 tankers a year across the Salish Sea and putting salmon rivers and the B.C. coast at risk of oil spills. The new pipeline would exclusively carry heavier oils such as diluted bitumen, destined for export.
This new pipeline rivals Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline, a project that would ship 525,000 barrels of crude per day from Alberta to Kitimat.
The larger tankers planned for Second Narrows can carry up to one million barrels of crude - three times the amount spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. And in this case, it would be diluted bitumen from the tar sands rather than conventional crude. Diluted bitumen—bitumen extracted from the tar sands and then diluted with natural gas liquids so that it can flow through pipes—differs from conventional crude: it is thicker, more acidic, more sulphuric, and more abrasive. Translation: diluted bitumen is more likely to cause corrosion in the pipelines through which it flows, as well as in the tankers that carry it through marine ecosystems. It is also harder to clean up. Conventional oil spill clean-up responses, which focus on containing and recovering oil floating on the surface of the water, are largely ineffective in the case of a bitumen spill, because bitumen will sink below the surface, as happened when an Enbridge pipeline sprung a leak in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2013, an Exxon pipeline leaked tar sands crude into an Arkansas suburb and here in B.C. the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline has been shut down twice due to leakage.
Diluted bitumen carries risks that we’re only beginning to understand. Read the article in the New York Times.
Watch the Global TV news clip featuring Sierra's Executive Director, George Heyman (on leave).
The project has drawn strong opposition from the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation of Burrard Inlet whose members still live with the consequences of a crude spill that dates back to the 1950s.
Sierra Lower Mainland is working with other groups to mobilize opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Read Shirley Samples' blog from the Save the Salish Sea Canoe Gathering in September 2012, hosted by the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, which Lower Mainland group attended as observers.
Local governments are also concerned about the risk of disasters in a densely populated area. In May 2012, Burnaby Mayor and Council unanimously opposed the new proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, which would have "significant risks and impacts on Burnaby's economic, social and environmental well-being." Other local governments on the Kinder Morgan tanker route, such as the Island Trust and the municipality of Oak Bay in Victoria, have also passed resolutions against the proposed new pipeline.
In the past five years, Metro Vancouver has seen two pipeline spills in Burnaby (in 2007 and 2009) and, in January 2012, a spill in Abbotsford.
Conversations for Responsible Economic Development (CRED), a collaboration of business owners, academics, landowners and everyday residents of British Columbia who support responsible economic development, has released a report on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline that highlights the over 200,000 jobs that are at stake.
Even with a high-bar, unbiased environmental assessment, looking at each pipeline project separately would not give a true picture of its impact. Kinder Morgan’s proposed new pipeline is part of the tar sands rush - the push to more than double production from Alberta's tar sands by 2020.
We need to look at the big picture. According to the International Energy Agency, global warming requires urgent reduction and/or replacement of fossil fuel infrastructure within the next five years. We should be shifting investment toward energy efficiency and renewable energy, not building new infrastructure to expand the exploitation of the world's dirtiest oil - Alberta's tar sands.
Stopping the Kinder Morgan expansion is crucial to shifting Canada's energy sector away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward economic alternatives that protect communities and slow global warming.