Twinning of a section of the Trans Mountain pipeline previously completed in Jasper.

Twinning of a section of the Trans Mountain pipeline previously completed in Jasper.

Kinder Morgan won’t disclose oil pipeline emergency plan

B.C. stymied on demands for Trans Mountain documents, province urged to pull out of NEB hearings

The B.C. government remains stymied in its efforts to force Kinder Morgan to reveal what the province believes are crucial details of oil spill and emergency response plans for the firm’s Trans Mountain pipeline project.

And as the National Energy Board review of the proposed second oil pipeline enters a new phase there are growing calls for the province to withdraw from the process.

Lawyers for the province have for several months demanded the release of detailed emergency plans for spills on either land or at sea.

Trans Mountain officials last October released a heavily redacted version of the plan, citing various reasons for denying information, including “security” to protect its facilities from “targeted vandalism” during an emergency.

“History has shown that the possibility of a spill originating from Trans Mountain’s facilities is very real,” the province stated in a Dec. 5 motion that demanded more disclosure.

“The potential for devastating effects on the environment, human health and local economies is irrefutable. There is significant reason to query Trans Mountain’s ability to respond to a spill effectively.”

One of the plan elements withheld by Trans Mountain for security reasons is a map of public evacuation zones should a rupture or other emergency occur.

While the company argued public disclosure of the map could interfere with its response, the province said making the information publicly available would aid safe and orderly evacuations.

Kinder Morgan took the same position on disclosure of other manuals and fire safety plans.

“We are extremely concerned that the very detailed response information provided in these documents could be used by anyone seeking to maximize environmental damage or cause harm to the public by intervening prior to or during a response,” the company said.

The province’s December motion argued release is “imperative” for all intervenors to meaningfully participate in the review because the NEB process is “the only forum in which Trans Mountain’s ability to effectively respond to a spill can be probed and tested.”

It said the company’s “vague and perfunctory justifications” for withholding details are based on unverified assumptions and are “utterly unpersuasive.”

Various intervenors, including the province, were expected to file further information requests to the NEB by a Friday deadline in a second and final round of written questions and answers.

B.C. Green Party deputy leader and MLA Andrew Weaver said the province must end the equivalency agreement that delegates its environmental assessment to the federal government and instead conduct its own independent hearings.

“The province at this point has no choice but to pull out,” Weaver said.  “It’s totally unacceptable. If you’re not going to provide something as fundamental as an emergency response plan for the most critical aspect of your whole proposal then this is clearly not working in the interests of British Columbians.”

Weaver said it’s particularly unreasonable that the emergency plan documents were not provided in time for intervenors to pose questions by Friday’s deadline.

An environment ministry spokesman would not say if the province is contemplating a pull out, adding B.C. continues to insist any heavy oil pipeline meet its five conditions to proceed.

The NEB is expected to make a final recommendation on the application to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline by Jan. 25, 2016. The federal government would then have six months to approve or reject the project.

The proposed $5.4-billion pipeline twinning would nearly triple Trans Mountain’s capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day and bring hundreds of additional oil tankers through Burrard Inlet each year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

Victoria police are seeking public assistance in identifying a suspect and witness of a Dec. 4 sexual assault in Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seeking suspect, witness of sexual assault of Esquimalt teen

Teen sexually assaulted Dec. 4 after departing number 15 bus

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read