Pipelines: Two of BC’s Requirements

Originally Published in the ECOreport

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Christy Clark – Rennie Collection – Wing Sang Building – Vancouver”  – Photo kris krüg, CC by SA 2.0

The Proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline, bringing diluted bitumen from Alberta to BC,  has just hit another snag. On July 4 British Columbia’s attorney filed a motion with the National Energy Board requesting more detailed information on how Kinder Morgan would respond to maritime and land-based spills. There are 70 questions, which have not been adequately addressed. They pertain to two of BC’s requirements that must be met before BC will support any heavy oil pipeline.

Proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project Configuration Map (click on image to expand) – taken from NEB Website
Proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project Configuration Map (click on image to expand) – taken from NEB Website

Their notice of motion also seeks “a new deadline for subsequent information requests and such other relief as the Board may consider appropriate under the circumstances.”

In the conclusion of the province’s notice it states:

Trans Mountains failure to file the evidence requested by the Province in information Request No.1 denies the Board, the Province and other intervenors access to the information required to fully understand the risk posed by the Project, how Trans Mountain Proposes to mitigate such risk, and Trans Mountain’s ability to effectively respond to a spill related to the Project. If the review process established by the Board is to be honored, then Trans Mountain’s failure must be corrected by an order compelling the submission of full and adequate answers.”

The first question on BC’s lists was a request for a geohazard event inventory and they found Trans Mountain’s (TM) response “not relevant.”

Those were actually two of the words that TM used when asked for a list of spills on Kinder Morgan pipelines. They said “not relevant” again when asked for a list of the proportion of spills from all Kinder Morgan pipelines, over the last 30 years were identified by a SCADA alarm.

From the Wilderness Committee Video, Save the Salish Sea TM failed to “commit to the automatic shutdown of the pipeline in the event a leak is suspected and is not ruled out within 10 minutes.”

When TM attempted evade answering how it might differ with factual conclusions or findings made by the NEB by saying “not relevant”, BC responded with a list of ways it was relevant:

  • “information regarding leak detection and pump shutdown is squarely within the scope of the issues identified by the Board.
  • “Information concerning the effectiveness of leak detection and the promptness of shutdowns on the existing TMPL system is directly relevant to the company’s “track record” with respect to the safe operation of its pipelines. The Province requires such information in order to assess Trans Mountain’s ability to operate the proposed pipeline safely.
  • “The findings of the NEB upon investigation of the 2012 Sumas Tank leak are entirely relevant to Trans Mountain’s ability to consistently follow internal leak detection and pipeline shutdown procedures.
  • “Trans Mountain’s response to the NEB report is relevant to the company’s ability to learn from past events and make improvements following

These examples are all taken from the beginning of BC’s list! It goes keeps going on for 41 pages. Click on this link and go look for yourself.

Trans Mountain’s failure “to answer BC’s questions did have consequences:  The Province is not able to prepare questions for the second round of intervenor information requests in the absence of adequate responses to the requests filed for the first round. Even if Trans Mountain is ordered to provide full and adequate responses before the current deadline of September 11, 2014 for the second round of information requests, it will be impossible for the Province to file meaningful follow-up information requests by that deadline.”

On a personal note, I can only say Good on you Premier Christy Clark! And in response to a query about her motives that just came in, at this point I am more concerned about what she does than why.  Go for it Christy!

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