Lynn Perrin of the PIPE UP Network (Pro-Information Pro-Environment United People) spoke to council on Monday and asked where the city stands on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
Perrin raised concerns about the proposal – 42-kilometers of pipeline runs through Abbotsford – which would increase its capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000.
Both PIPE UP and the city have intervener status in the upcoming National Energy Board (NEB) hearing on the proposal.
Perrin said there have been three leaks from the pipeline in Abbotsford: in 2000, 2005 and 2012.
She said that in 2005 it took a week for the spill to be found and addressed. Emergency responders didn’t know what was in the spill and weren’t in the proper response gear, she said. In 2012, the spill happened at 2:39 a.m. and emergency responders didn’t know until 9:15 a.m, said Perrin.
Perrin said the U.S. Department of Transportation has fined Kinder Morgan nearly $1 million in civil fines for breaking 27 U.S. pipeline safety rules.
Perrin requested that Abbotsford join others communities like Burnaby and Vancouver and not support the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
Mayor Henry Braun said the city has asked a long list of questions of Kinder Morgan – some of which are yet to be answered – and he would like to have all the information before a decision is made.
Coun. Patricia Ross said she has many concerns about the proposal and wants to see that the company is taking concerns and the potential impact seriously and “I’m not seeing that...”
But Ross said that taking a stance of full-out opposition at this time may not be the best way of approaching the issue.
Ross said they had worked with the NEB during the Sumas Energy 2 process – an American project that would have built a power plant near the border and was defeated after a large public outcry and a six-year process – and had received respect for not immediately opposing the plan.
“I believe that the reason why the city and the Fraser Valley got such a high level of respect from the NEB … is because we did not jump to opposition before all the facts were in.”
While other communities have come out in opposition to the Kinder Morgan expansion, Ross said that to be taken seriously by the NEB it is best to wait until all the information is available.
She said the Fraser Valley Regional District and city are not taking an outright position of opposition at this point, but both are “very much involved in representing the concerns of our citizens.”
Braun said there will be a report on the Kinder Morgan project coming to council with more information, as there are currently some questions from the city that have not yet been answered.
The second round of information requests must be submitted by Jan. 16, 2015 and a report will come to council on the proposal in the first quarter of 2015.