‘Opportunities’ knock with oil spills: Kinder Morgan
Crews at a spill in Burnaby in 2007 that coated a neighbourhood in oil. Kinder Morgan said it had to consider positive effects of such spills as part of an application to twin the same pipeline. (QMI AGENCY)
The Sierra Club says Kinder Morgan’s assertion that oil spills can be good for the economy represents some twisted logic from the company.
On Wednesday, the website Press Progress published excerpts from company’s application to the National Energy Board for expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“Marine spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies over the short- and long-term,” said the excerpt. “Spill response creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions and clean-up providers.”
The excerpt said part of the benefit would depend on the willingness of local businesses and residents to “pursue response opportunities.”
The company is hoping to have its Trans Mountain pipeline twinned to bring oil from Alberta to its terminal in Burnaby, where it would then be shipped in tankers for export.
But Caitlyn Vernon of the environmental group Sierra Club insisted pipelines aren’t job creators to begin with.
“It’s an insult to British Columbians that Kinder Morgan would say an oil spill is good for the B.C. economy,” Vernon said. “One oil spill would put at risk over 200,000 jobs in the Lower Mainland alone.”
But Kinder Morgan senior director of marine development Michael Davies said the comments were part of a requirement for the application.
“No spill is acceptable to us and while we are required by the National Energy Board to explore both the positive and negative socio-economic effects of a spill, it in no way means we accept the inevitability of a spill, nor justify one,” Davies said. “It's important to remember that this statement is part of a section of the application that outlines the environmental and economic impacts of a hypothetical spill."
In 2007, a pipeline ruptured by a construction crew spewed oil all over a neighbourhood in Burnaby.
Vernon said the economic effect of that spill has not been measured, but even if it were good for the economy, it wouldn’t be acceptable.
“British Columbians deserve good, safe, healthy jobs,” Vernon said. “Jobs in oil spill response are toxic, are hazardous to the health of first responders.”