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Vancouver asks court to review Trans Mountain environmental approvals

Last Updated Oct 23, 2017 at 3:42 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters stage 'Die-in' in Burnaby

Vancouver city councillor says there wasn't enough research done about risks of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Concerned over the potential risks of an oil spill, the City of Vancouver is asking for a review of environmental approvals granted for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the previous provincial government.

It’s making that request at BC Supreme Court in Downtown Vancouver.

There simply wasn’t enough research done about the risks, in the view of Green Party City Councillor Adriane Carr.

“Scientific studies, that for example, could have focused on how bitumen acts in water, and the threat it really poses to the marine waters and the environment of Vancouver,” should have been carried out before any approval was granted, in Carr’s view.

Carr feels First Nations and the public more broadly were not adequately consulted.

“This is an absolute requirement in the issuing of an environmental assessment certificate by the province, that they consult, specifically that they consult with first nations, but they also need to consult with the public,” says Carr. “There was no public consultation that the previous [BC] Liberal government did with the people of Vancouver, or broadly the people of BC.”

Kinder Morgan has faced legal challenges on a number of fronts for this federally approved project, and last week indicated the $7.4-billion expansion could see a nine-month delay.

In a statement, Ali Hounsell with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project says the project received its environmental certificate subject to 37 conditions, many in response to input from communities and Aboriginal groups.

“Prior to this certificate being granted, the National Energy Board and the Federal Government assessed and weighed the scientific and technical evidence through comprehensive, multi-year regulatory review processes, while taking into consideration varying interests on the project.

“Trans Mountain is confident in the certificates and approvals obtained to date and looks forward to building and operating this project in a manner that minimizes impacts to the¬†environment and provides benefits to British Columbians.”

‘Die-in’ protest against pipeline expansion

Meanwhile, people against Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline have acted out a “Die-in” at the BC offices of Public Safety Canada on Production Way in Burnaby.

Ruth Walmsley is one of many delivering a letter to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, asking him to account for what they claim are many unaddressed public safety issues at the company’s oil storage depot in Burnaby.

“Kinder Morgan’s responsibility ends at the fence line. They basically are not taking responsibility for public safety. So, who is? Ralph Goodale and Public Safety Canada are the ones who are charged with protecting our public safety. So far, they’re shirking their their responsibility.”

They are asking for a thorough public safety analysis of the expansion project and develop an emergency response plan, in the event of an accident.

The federal government approved the expansion last November — which would triple the capacity of the pipeline that runs from Alberta to BC.