Trans Mountain Pipeline

B.C. Changes Boundary of Provincial Park to Make Way for Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

The B.C. government passed legislation that changes the boundaries of Finn Creek Provincial Park last Thursday, to make way for the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline even though the province has yet to give its approval to the controversial project.

In its pipeline expansion allocation Kinder Morgan requested the province redraw the boundaries of four provincial parks to facilitate pipeline construction.

Last week B.C. changed the boundaries of Finn Creek Provincial Park to make way for the pipeline that is currently undergoing review with the federal National Energy Board. The NEB’s final recommendation is expected by May 20.

This pipeline project clearly threatens the values that this park was established to protect,” Peter Wood with the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), said. “It should never have been allowed to proceed this far, let alone be approved. Allowing industrial activity in an ecologically sensitive area like Finn Creek Park runs counter to the government’s mandate of protecting these places.”

Ship Noise Harming Endangered Killer Whales in Salish Sea: New Study

Killer whales eye oil tanker in Salish Sea

Underwater shipping noise in the Salish Sea is likely making it difficult for endangered southern resident killer whales to find food and could threaten their survival, according to a team of U.S. scientists.
 
A new, two-year study, published in the academic journal Peer J, used underwater microphones to take 3,000 noise measurements as 1,600 individual ships passed through the Washington State side of Haro Strait.
 
The study site is in the middle of critical habitat for the fish-eating southern resident killer whales and researchers found shipping noise extended to middle and high frequencies used by killer whales to echo-locate prey. Killer whales emit a series of clicking sounds and then listen for the bounce-back echoes in order to find fish.
 
The researchers found the growth in commercial shipping has raised the intensity of low-frequency noise almost 10-fold since the 1960s and there is growing evidence that it is affecting the communication ability of baleen whales, such as humpbacks, gray whales and right whales.

Q&A: Dogwood Initiative's Kai Nagata on the Fate of the Trans Mountain Pipeline

This is an interview between Max Fawcett, editor-in-chief of Vancouver Magazine, and Kai Nagata, energy and democracy director at the Dogwood Initiative. The interview originally appeared on Vancouver Magazine

Max Fawcett: What are your thoughts on B.C. saying no to Trans Mountain? Is that game, set, and match for the project?

Kai Nagata: It’s actually entirely consistent with what they said in 2013 about Enbridge, which is basically if you want to come and build a heavy oil project in B.C. you have to follow the campsite rule — you have to leave the province at least as well-off as you find it. It’s actually pretty hard for anyone who proposes to ship dilbit [diluted bitumen, the stuff that’s produced in the Alberta oil sands] to either convince the province that they can clean it up if it spills in the ocean or that it will deliver a financial reward with commensurate with that risk.

Based on those criteria, Trans Mountain and Enbridge are not that different in terms of the characteristics of their projects, so it’s not that surprising to see the environment minister [Mary Polak] say they haven’t met the five conditions.

Is B.C. Prepared for An Oil Spill? The Short Answer: No.

British Columbians must learn from mistakes made following the Exxon Valdez and BP Deepwater Horizon oil spills and prepare oil spill community response plans, renowned U.S. marine toxicologist Riki Ott is warning.

Transport Canada, along with the industry-funded Western Canada Marine Response Corporation and the Canadian Coast Guard are in charge of oil spill response on the west coast, but recent incidents like the bunker fuel leak in English Bay show a lack of communication and spotty response can leave local governments and communities on the sidelines.

Speaking at a community workshop in Victoria organized by Georgia Strait Alliance and Living Oceans Society, Ott said the risk of an oil spill off the B.C. coast increases as more tankers and other vessels ply the crowded waters. Communities must be ready to deal with a disaster, she said.

Oil doesn’t spill on federal and provincial land. It spills in someone’s backyard,” Ott said, warning that people also need to be educated about health hazards that come from breathing oil-laden air, diseases suffered by clean-up crews absorbing toxic chemicals through their skin and the decades-long effects on marine species and wildlife, ranging from mutations to extirpation.

When it happens, it’s really too late. You have to put all your energy into prevention and it’s really important to have a plan,” she said.

Is the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Finally Dead?

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Justin Trudeau and Art Sterritt walk on the boardwalk in Hartley Bay, B.C.

In August 2014, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made the trek to the tiny Gitga’at community of Hartley Bay, located along Enbridge’s proposed oil tanker route in northwestern B.C.

There, in the village of 200 people accessible only by air and water, he met with community elders and Art Sterritt, executive director of the Coastal First Nations.

He came to Gitga’at because he wanted to make sure he was making the right decision in terms of Northern Gateway and being there certainly confirmed that,” Sterritt told DeSmog Canada on Tuesday.

My confidence level went up immensely when Justin … visited Gitga’at.”

Two months before that visit, in May 2014, Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa that if he became prime minister “the Northern Gateway Pipeline will not happen.”

With Monday’s majority win by Trudeau, Sterritt — who retired three weeks ago from his role with Coastal First Nations — says he is “elated” and “Northern Gateway is now dead.”

EXCLUSIVE: Site C Dam ‘Devastating’ for British Columbians, Says Former CEO of BC Hydro

Site C dam flood reserve level

In an exclusive interview with DeSmog Canada, former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen says ratepayers will face a “devastating” increase in their electricity bills if the Site C dam is built and emphasizes there is no rush to build new sources of power generation in B.C.

With Site C, BC Hydro ratepayers will be facing a devastating increase of anywhere between 30 and 40 per cent over the next three years,” Eliesen told DeSmog Canada in his first interview on the subject.

There’s no rush. There’s no immediate need for Site C or any other alternative energy,” he said.

Eliesen’s comment about the lack of immediate need for the power echoes statements made by Harry Swain, the chair of the panel that reviewed the Site C hydro dam for the provincial and federal governments. In March, Swain told DeSmog Canada the B.C. government should have held off on making a decision on the dam.

Benzene Gas from Kinder Morgan Bitumen Spill Could Endanger 1 Million Vancouverites, Hospitalize 31,000

The Economist says Vancouver is liveable, but boring. Clearly they haven’t read its latest evidence against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

As part of its final package of evidence in the NEB’s review of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion, the City of Vancouver solicited expert testimony on how air quality would be impacted by a spill in Burrard Inlet.

The 53-page report prepared by Richmond-based Levelton Consultants has the same underlying thread of doom featured in much of Vancouver’s other evidence. The key difference? This time there’s a possible human body count.

Economist Robyn Allan Publicly Withdraws From Review of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline: 'The Game is Rigged'

Economist and former ICBC president  Robyn Allan withdrew from the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project Tuesday, saying she can no longer “endorse a process that is not working.”

In a letter addressed to Sherri Young, secretary of the NEB, Allan said the “review is not conducted on a level playing field” and that because the panel is “not an impartial referee…the game is rigged.”

Allan said she began to seriously question the process when oral cross-examination was removed from the process.

I had concerns with what that would do to the overall calibre of the process,” she said.

Allan said she wanted to “participate in good faith through the process of information requests” but now that it has been completed “it’s very clear it has been an exercise in futility.”

I wanted to see the process through enough to unequivocally conclude that it’s broken,” she said. “ Now I see it’s beyond repair.”

Five Seriously Disturbing B.C. Political Donations

The 2014 financial reports from B.C.’s political parties are out and my face hurts from all of the eyebrow raising.

Donations to political parties from corporations are banned federally, but here in B.C. — the wild west of political donations — the corporate cash is free-flowing.

Here are the Top 5 disconcerting revelations from this year’s disclosures. (Thanks to Integrity BC for drawing my attention to many of these.)

1) Let’s start with the $40,950 that accounting firm KPMG gave to the BC Liberals in 2014. KPMG is the company BC Hydro hired to “independently review” the costs of the $8.8 billion Site C dam. The B.C. government has pointed to the KPMG report to defend its decision to ignore an expert recommendation to send the project to the B.C. Utilities Commission for review.

Since 2005, KPMG and its related companies have given $284,994 to the BC Liberals and $13,150 to the NDP.

B.C. Mayors Declare 'Non-Confidence' in NEB, Call on Feds to Halt Review of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan Kinder Morgan

The mayors of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, City of North Vancouver, Victoria, Squamish and Bowen Island have declared their “non-confidence” in the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and are calling on the federal government to put the current process on hold until a full public hearing process is re-instated.

It has become apparent that the NEB process does not constitute a ‘public hearing’ and is completely inadequate to assess the health and safety risks of a proposed pipeline through major metropolitan areas, and the potential risks of shipping bitumen oil to Burnaby and through Burrard Inlet, the Salish Sea, and along the coastline of British Columbia,” the mayors write in their declaration.

The mayors also call upon the Government of British Columbia to re-assert its role in environmental assessment and to establish a provincial process, including public hearings, to assess the Trans Mountain proposal.

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