The uproar and concern of the various groups of the public who are adamantly protesting over the Northern Gateway pipeline’s tentative approval, seem to forget one very important thing. That being both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway are ready and willing to start using “Unit Trains” similar to the coal trains that rumble along to the Roberts Bank super port, but instead of coal, the trains will be bringing the Alberta Tar Sands Bitumen crude to Kitimat or Westridge Terminals in Burnaby. Everyone recognizes the potential negative consequences of an ocean spill, but could we Imagine the catastrophic results of one 70,000 litre rail car or 100 of those rail cars all at once derailing along the Skeena River or the Fraser River; a scenario with undoubtedly severe immediate consequence. The use of trains instead of a pipeline brings a greater chance of a disaster equal to any ocean oil spill.
Our group can say this with some degree of knowledge because we live with an oil pipeline on our land and many of us have for a very long time, that in our opinion, the pipeline is a far safer mode of transportation compared to rail. One only needs to look at last year’s Lac Megantic derailment disaster as an example of devastation shipping oil by rail.
The residents of the Fraser Valley should feel lucky that our association holds Intervenor Status with regard to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. The group that we are part of is known as CGLAP (the Collaborative Group of Landowners Affected by Pipelines). Instead of attempting to halt the construction of this pipeline expansion, we are holding Trans Mountain and its parent Kinder Morgan to the highest standard of construction never before seen in Canada. CGLAP will ensure that this new pipeline will meet and exceed standards we as farmers and landowners here in Canada’s breadbasket have set out with the NEB that must be met prior to construction. CGLAP will also ensure accountability to build the new pipeline with the object of responsibility not only to CGLAP members but every resident of the Fraser Valley.
There are approximately 2,200 landowners between Edmonton and Vancouver along the 1,150 kilometre pipeline that will be affected by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on their land. CGLAP, with over 60 members, represents the single largest number of landowners within this 2,200 landowner group with the existing Trans Mountain pipeline on their property.
Each member of CGLAP (there are three separate compartmental units of our association) are considered are “Directly Affected” people. The main group, by far the largest inner group, have lived with the pipeline for a long time. The old 24 inch line bringing millions of barrels of oil from Alberta to the west coast with very little drama over its 62 years.
As directly affected landowners we do not look upon Kinder Morgan as adversaries, even though the Trans Mountain pipeline has been a benefit to its various owners, present and past, the pipeline has and is continuing to be a burden to us. CGLAP holds out the theory that if a business rents or leases a warehouse to store or facilitate the movement of goods, the expediter would need to pay that warehouse owner rent for the use of the facilities. Therefore, in CGLAP’s opinion, Kinder Morgan needs to pay “rent” to the 2,200 warehouse along the pipeline to get their product to market.
CGLAP’s end objective going forward is to make sure every Directly Affected CGLAP member is treated fairly and KM shows respect to each of us during and after the construction phase of the new larger pipe. At the end of the project, we hope to be valued business partners with Kinder Morgan and not just a faceless thoroughfare.
If you are a directly affected landowner and wish more information on CGLAP, please visit our Facebook page and leave us a message.
Brian Kingman, Mount Lehman