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City, province say Kinder Morgan dodging questions 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

Kinder Morgan's planned upgrades to the 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline include the reactivation of another pipe under Hinton and adding a new pumping station to the existing one west of town.

Kinder Morgan's planned upgrades to the 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline include the reactivation of another pipe under Hinton and adding a new pumping station to the existing one west of town.

The B.C. and City of Vancouver governments say energy giant Kinder Morgan is being evasive about its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline project, and the two governments filed a motion Friday with the National Energy Board to force the company to provide more in-depth answers.

According to Vancouver deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston, the company did not answer 146 of the 394 questions posed to it by the city, which has status as an intervenor in the project.

"They're not able to adequately answer issues related to spills and emergency response to those spills," said Johnston.

He said questions around what makes up diluted bitumen oil -- which could be transported in the pipelines -- were not answered by the company, citing trade secrets.

"It's really tough to develop an emergency plan to respond to it for our own municipality if we don't know how it behaves," Johnston said, pointing out the company said a sunny, warm day is a worst-case scenario for a spill. "We're trying to get more information, but can't seem to, on why they would assume that's a worst-case scenario."

Kinder Morgan said in an email Friday afternoon it met the requirements of the process in the answers it provided to the city.

The company said some of the questions asked would raise security or market concerns if they were answered and said intervenors have the opportunity to make more queries in September.

It also suggested some of the questions asked had no bearing on the proposal.

"Trans Mountain believes it provided robust responses to the questions submitted that were within the scope of the regulatory review," the email said. "It is normal in regulatory processes that there are debates about whether questions are appropriate and/or in scope."

B.C.'s government, in a statement released Friday afternoon, echoed Vancouver's concerns and reiterated its requirement that "world-leading" oil spill recovery is a must for any pipeline to be approved in the province.

"In a number of cases, Kinder Morgan's responses to the information requests do not provide sufficient information," the statement said.

"That makes it difficult for the province to evaluate whether the Trans Mountain Expansion project will include world-leading marine and land oil spill systems."

If approved, the pipeline will be expanded from almost 300,000 barrels of petroleum products per day to 890,000 from Alberta to Burnaby, bringing with it increased tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet.

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