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Vancouver puts forth motion to NEB to consider climate change

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The City of Vancouver is pointing to the insurance industry to tell Kinder Morgan a pipeline expansion is not in the city’s best interest. The city, an intervener in the process, has put forward another motion to the National Energy Board to have climate change considered when reviewing the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

Councillor Andrea Reimer says insurance companies are considering climate change when evaluating economic risk, and so should the NEB.

The City’s motion includes evidence from local professors, and insurers according to Reimer, showing the project is not in the best interest of Vancouver. “It’s not the brand or image of Vancouver that’s projected to the world of an oil port, a massive oil port. We’ve put a lot of energy into building a brand of a green city, and that’s paid off for us economically. That would be very threatened by such a massive expansion,” she says.

This is not the first time the city has tried to have environmental issues addressed. “So far the NEB has denied our application, but this newest application makes a direct link between climate change, the emissions associated with the Kinder Morgan project and very significantly the cost to the insurance industry and the City of Vancouver,” says Reimer. She adds greenhouse gases from oil-related activity and increased tanker traffic have significantly added to extreme weather like windstorms and flooding, forcing municipalities and insurance companies to shell out money for infrastructure repairs and other restoration.

Reimer expects an answer on the motion from the NEB in a few weeks. Meanwhile, the city will be holding public engagement events in June for what they call frustrated stakeholders who are unable to participate in the process, or were denied access to NEB hearings. The city has invited Kinder Morgan representatives to participate in the open houses.

Environmental group applaud Vancouver for the move, but they’re not happy Ottawa hasn’t been considering climate change impacts on all energy project proposals. Ben West with Forest Ethics says the Federal Government should already have the issue on their radar.

“I find it very frustrating the Harper Government has left the Kyoto protocol, has basically ignored climate science, and this is just the latest indication of that problem. A lot of the leadership we’ve been seeing in this area has been coming from municipalities… In the United States Barack Obama has made the decision around the Keystone XL pipeline explicitly related to whether this is going to make things worse for the climate. If you look at the fact we’re talking about a landlocked resource in Alberta, there’s obvious consequences to the ability of the oil sands to grow that’s related to these projects,” says West.

He adds Forest Ethics has also filed a motion to have climate change included in the review.