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UPDATE: Council opposes Trans Mountain pipeline

The Kamloops Daily News reports, “Since 1953, the (Trans Mountain) pipeline has moved oil from Edmonton to Vancouver and Washington state via the North Thompson corridor and Kamloops. Kinder Morgan has had the twinning project in its scope for the past six years or more. An ‘open-season’ process, which seeks commercial commitments from the company’s customers, was started in October 2011. Kinder Morgan wants commitments based on what would be a doubling of capacity in the line to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the current 300,000 bpd. …Kinder Morgan Canada expects to know within a month whether it will proceed with plans to twin the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, a B.C. Interior project worth an estimated $4 billion.”

More specifically, the Tyee highlights, “Trans Mountain Pipeline operates a 300,000 barrel per day pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia and Washington State. They are requesting permission from the National Energy Board to ship more tar sands bitumen to the Westbridge tanker terminal in Burrard Inlet and away from existing land-based refineries in B.C. and Washington. If approved, this would immediately expand crude capacity through Vancouver from 52,000 bpd to 79,000 bpd.”

The Daily News article today notes, “Once it has capacity confirmed, the company will announce its plans and embark on a consultative process with First Nations, landowners and communities along the route. That alone could take up to two years. From there, the process would advance to a National Energy Board review. (The company says), ‘In general terms, there are a number of factors, but it’s a five-year project from the announcement to the end of the construction phase.'”

In 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.

In our media release on the rally, Council of Canadians BC-Yukon organizer Harjap Grewal stated, “Many people have been organizing around the province against the construction of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline that would carry tar sands to a port in Kitimat, but fewer people are aware of Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of their Trans Mountain pipeline. The expansion alone would deliver more barrels per day than the total capacity of the Enbridge’s pipeline. If we want to stop the destruction of the tar sands we need to stop Northern Gateway, Keystone XL and the Trans Mountain pipelines. We will continue to organize against (the Trans Mountain Pipeline) in the spirit of protests happening across the continent and in solidarity with Indigenous communities from Ft. Chipewyan to Wet’Suwet’en and Coast Salish Territories that are protecting their lands from one of the world most destructive industrial projects. As local residents become aware of both the impact of the tar sands and that crude is being shipped through, and literally under, their backyard we imagine the opposition will grow.”

At the rally, Grewal added, “The governments and corporations aren’t really listening. How many people here believe that [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper is going to do something credible about the tar sands? We can’t rely on the government or these representatives of ours to make change. People are going to have to do it themselves.”

A 4-minute video on the rally can be seen at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10151.

The Council of Canadians is in the process of launching a pipelines campaign aimed at the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Northern Gateway pipeline, and the Pacific Trails natural gas pipeline, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11863 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10555.