Pipeline proposal omitted key pollutant: FVRD lawyer

Regional district worry that plan to twin Trans Mountain Pipeline didn't account for effect of ozone emissions on airshed.

Kinder Morgan Canada

Kinder Morgan Canada

A lawyer for the Fraser Valley Regional District criticized Kinder Morgan Canada for failing to account for a key pollutant when assessing the health affects of a twinned Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Kinder Morgan’s proposal to twin its Trans Mountain, nearly tripling its capacity to 890,000 barrels per day, is currently before the National Energy Board, which is expected to make a recommendation to government in the late spring. The pipeline runs for around 30 kilometres through Abbotsford, where the company also operates a tank farm and pump station on Sumas Mountain. It is expected to also bring increased tanker traffic to Burrard Inlet.

In the regional district’s verbal submissions to the National Energy Board last Friday, Maegen Giltrow said the FVRD is concerned about the effect of that tanker traffic on the valley’s funnel-shaped airshed, which traps pollutants close to the ground. She said the district spends considerable time trying to limit air pollution, and criticized Kinder Morgan for omitting ozone from its health assessments.

“Fraser Valley’s fundamental concern is that while ground-level ozone is one of the most high-profile, well-studied and significant ground-level contaminants in the Fraser Valley airshed, ozone is not included in the human health risk assessment of Trans Mountain’s submission,” said Giltrow, who also presented submissions for the City of Abbotsford, and the Township of Langley. As presented, the pipeline plans “fails to identify and evaluate a key risk of the project.”

Abbotsford’s submission stressed the need for on-the-ground emergency planning exercises. The NEB heard that following a 2005 spill in Abbotsford, Kinder Morgan conducted “table-top” exercises during which scenarios were talked-through, but which involved no on-the-ground activity. When a second spill occurred in 2012, problems again arose and those Kinder Morgan employees tasked with co-ordinating the response had not been involved in the “discussion-based exercises.”

Giltrow said those board-room exercises failed to test equipment and the ability of responders to act in high-stress situations without infinite time.

The city said that a preliminary condition that leaves Kinder Morgan to decide which operation-based exercises are conducted is insufficient.