Vancouver calls National Energy Board process ‘undemocratic’
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C., May 11, 2014. A City of Vancouver presentation says the National Energy Board’s approach to the Trans Mountain pipeline hearings is "inappropriate." (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
The City of Vancouver has released a scathing review of the National Energy Board’s approach to the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline twinning — accusing the federal regulatory agency of acting in an “undemocratic” matter.
Deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston unveiled a number of concerns Tuesday regarding the health and safety impacts of twinning the pipeline.
But a large part of the presentation to council attacked the NEB itself, with Johnston accusing the federal body of shutting out people who want to voice their concerns about the project at hearings, saying the public “can’t even write letters” to it.
“To us, that seems a little bit undemocratic and really inappropriate for the magnitude of this decision for our communities, for our region,” Johnston said.
Texas-based Kinder Morgan wants to twin the existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to its Burnaby terminal, where oil will be loaded on tankers bound for Asia.
Johnston also took issue with the makeup of the decision-making board for the project, saying none of the appointees have experience in environmental protection.
He said more than 250 people orally cross-examined witnesses for the Northern Gateway Pipeline, but the same won’t be allowed for Trans Mountain.
NEB communications officer Sarah Kiley said hearings are different depending on the project. She rejected the city’s concerns about former oil executives being on the board.
“When board members join the National Energy Board they take a kind of oath of neutrality,” Kiley said.
She said board members have a wide range of experience and backgrounds.
Other Vancouver councillors weighed in with questions after the presentation.
Coun. Kerry Jang accused Kinder Morgan of “glossing over” human health concerns in its 15,000-page submission to the NEB.