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City will apply for intervener status on pipeline project

Kinder Morgan
Kinder Morgan's Sumas pump station.
— image credit: File photo

The City of Abbotsford is considering applying for intervener status in the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

City manager George Murray said staff are currently preparing a report that outlines the pros and cons for Abbotsford’s participation in the NEB hearings, adding that “it’s important for council to have an opportunity to consider all of its options as they relate to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project and applying for intervener status.”

In mid-December, Kinder Morgan filed their 15,000-page project application to the NEB. The national agency, which regulates pipelines in Canada, will conduct an environmental review and approve or reject the project.

Intervener status would allow the city to participate in the hearings, and other Lower Mainland communities have expressed interest in gaining the status.

The expansion would twin the existing 1,150 km pipeline between Edmonton and  Burnaby, nearly tripling its carrying capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000.

In Abbotsford, the expansion will be built parallel to the existing pipe route, which runs 30 km east to west through the north of Abbotsford. Kinder Morgan also has two facilities in Abbotsford. The Sumas pump station is located on McDermott Road, just south of Highway 1, where the company’s Puget pipeline splits off and runs south to Washington state. The Trans Mountain pipeline continues to the Sumas Terminal, on Sumas Mountain.

In 2012, a 110,000-litre spill was contained at the Sumas Terminal, but some residents of the Auguston neighbourhood said they experienced nausea and headaches from the fumes.

Environmentalists remained concerned about the impact of the pipeline, and have criticized the application process to gain intervener status for being unnecessarily complex and impeding applications, which must be submitted by Feb. 12.

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