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NEWS: Kinder Morgan to proceed with 550,000-barrel Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline

Westridge terminal in Burnaby. Photo by Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

Westridge terminal in Burnaby. Photo by Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

The Vancouver Sun reports, “Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said Thursday that it intends to expand plans to twin the Trans Mountain oil pipeline after receiving enough commitments from Asian customers to accommodate 25 to 30 tankers a month at its Westridge, Burnaby terminal. The proposed expansion of the existing Alberta-to-Metro Vancouver pipeline, which Kinder Morgan wants operational by 2017, is to cost $5 billion. It will increase pipeline capacity for oilsands crude by 550,000 barrels a day; from the current 300,000 barrels a day to 850,000 barrels.”

In that the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline would move some 525,000 barrels a day, the Trans Mountain project is actually a larger project.

“(Kinder Morgan) has three markets for the oil: Metro Vancouver, Washington State and offshore exports. Most of the customer commitments came from Asia, said Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson. …Canadian oil producers have been urging development of a line to let them tap high-paying Asian markets and U.S. West Coast refineries.”

“The next step for Kinder Morgan, he said, is to seek approval from the National Energy Board this summer for the commercial terms it has entered into with customers. Detailed design and routing work, along with consultations with communities and first nations, is to take place over the next 18-24 months. Anderson expects Kinder Morgan to file an official proposal to build the pipeline with the National Energy Board in late 2013. If it receives approval by 2015, construction could be completed by 2017.”

The Council of Canadians
In late-August 2011, the Council of Canadians joined Streams of Justice, Stop the Pave, Tanker Free BC and the Wilderness Committee to host a rally opposing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the presence of oil tankers in Burrard Inlet, and more broadly the social and ecological impacts of the tar sands,

This morning the Council of Canadians issued this statement: “Houston-based Kinder Morgan is out of touch with local opposition to the pipeline expansion,” says Harjap Grewal, BC Regional Organizer with the Council of Canadians. “People are opposed to an increase in Burrard Inlet oil tanker traffic, the potential for a pipeline spill and further unsustainable expansion in the tar sands,” adds Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

This coming April 22, the Council, alongside endorsing organizations and communities, will be holding rallies against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the construction of the Pacific Trails pipeline by Apache, Encana and EOG Resources,