Forest Ethics Responds to New Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion Proposal

by Forest Ethics | Press Release | Posted Jan 22, 2013:

Forest Ethics LogoYesterday Houston based energy giant Kinder Morgan announced that they planned to further expand their proposed pipeline through the most densely populated areas of the province of British Columbia. The company’s Canadian representative held a telephone press conference yesterday announcing that they planned to formally file a proposal with the National Energy Board in late 2013 which would result in 890,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil moving through BC bringing over 400 oil tankers a day to Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. This represents an increase of over 100 tankers a year over their previous announced proposal.

“More tar sands oil tankers means more risk of an oil spill that could severely impact critical habitat for salmon, killer whales and migratory, birds not to mention our local economy and public health. Pushing more of this dirty oil moving though our communities means drastically increased risk to the people that live and work here” said ForestEthics Advocacy Tar Sands Campaign Director Ben West.

Kinder Morgan bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in 2005 and have been steadily increasing exports since then. The pipeline currently carries 300,000 barrels per day and exports about 75,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil via tanker to California, the Asia Pacific region and elsewhere. This currently results in approximately 80 tankers a year in traffic through the Salish Sea. That has meant an increase from 20 tankers a day from the time the company bought the pipeline in 2005. Historically the Trans Mountain pipeline was primarily used for local oil consumption since it was built in 1952. The Trans Mountain pipeline is a mixed use pipeline which can transport a variety of fuel products including diesel, natural gas and jet fuel as well as crude oil, synthetic crude and diluted bitumen. The focus of their new proposal will be tar sands fuel products, likely primarily diluted bitumen. The oil spill in Kalamazoo Michigan has highlighted the fact that this kind of oil is more difficult and expensive to attempt to clean up and represents increase public health risks due to the use of benzene and other chemicals used to dilute the tar sands bitumen.

“Kinder Morgan is trying to quietly transform the West Coast into their export terminal for tar sands oil. That is simply an unacceptable risk. No oil company can honestly guarantee that there will never be an oil spill and this company already has a a troubling record” said West.

In December of last year the National Energy Board released a highly critical report regarding Kinder Morgans management of the 2007 oil spill in Burnaby BC for which the company was fined by BC courts. This was the the latest in a long history of incidents, fines and health and safety violations.

“We will continue to work with First Nations, local governments and the general public to make ensure this dangerous proposal is stopped and better alternatives are explored for our economy, transportation and energy production” said West.


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