Fraser Valley activists vow to block pipeline expansion

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says project in Canada's national interests, calls company a 'good corporate citizen.'

The Trans Mountain Pipeline runs for 30 kilometres across Abbotsford.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline runs for 30 kilometres across Abbotsford.



Anti-pipeline activists in the Fraser Valley are preparing to take direct action to try to block the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline through the region.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his cabinet had approved the expansion of the pipeline, which runs between Alberta and Burnaby and includes 30 kilometres of pipe across Abbotsford. The pipeline runs across Sumas Prairie, over Sumas Mountain, below Ledgeview Golf Course and the Sandy Hill neighbourhood and across Matsqui Prairie. Kinder Morgan also operates a pump station on Sumas Prairie and tank farm on Sumas Mountain.

Members of local anti-pipeline group PIPE-UP have already taken training on “direct action” to try to block construction, according to Abbotsford’s Lynn Perrin, who is a member of the group. More training sessions are planned, and Perrin herself says she’s prepared to take part in such a demonstration.

“Three years ago, I already made a decision that I will be in front of a bulldozer, if it comes to that,” she said.

Perrin says the project poses a risk both to the local and global environment. She said the risk of a spill along the route through British Columbia or off the coast is unacceptable, and that the project will also lead to greater carbon emissions, which are fueling climate change.

“It flies in the face of our commitments in Paris,” Perrin said, referring to Canada’s promise in the Paris Agreement signed earlier this spring to limit emissions. She maintained the Trudeau government failed to fulfill its promise to subject the pipeline proposal to more environmental scrutiny. Perrin said a ministerial panel that toured the province this summer and heard from locals failed to get a scientific environmental assessment of the project and didn’t adequately consult with First Nations groups.

“This ministerial panel was supposed to fill that role, and they didn’t at all,” she said.

Kinder Morgan says it hopes to begin construction in September of 2017 and complete work in late 2019. The project must meet 157 conditions set out by the National Energy Board in a decision released this spring.

But Perrin and others think legal actions by First Nations and environmentalist groups will stall plans to build the pipeline.

“It’s not going to get built,” she said.

That opinion is shared even by some supporters of the project.

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose suggested despite its approval, the Trans Mountain pipeline “will never get built,” because Trudeau didn’t have sufficient political capital to overcome local opposition.

The Conservative Party has been vocal in its support both of the Trans Mountain project and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, which the federal government announced it had rejected Tuesday.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said the Trans Mountain project is needed if Canada hopes to diversify customers for its oil. Braun said the company has proven itself to be “very responsible and a good corporate citizen.”

He said Kinder Morgan has responded positively to the city’s calls to improve its spill response and prevention capabilities, pointing to the installation of a mobile spill response unit and a pledge to install more control valves along its line.

The pipeline expansion will also increase the annual property taxes paid to the city by $1.3 million, to around $3.5 million. The agreement also triggers a $1.3 million community benefits agreement signed between the city and Kinder Morgan earlier this year.

But Coun. Patricia Ross, who is also vice-chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District, was less enthusiastic about Tuesday’s Kinder Morgan announcement.

Ross, who has been an outspoken critic of Kinder Morgan, said she still isn’t confident in the company’s ability to safeguard the land it crosses from a spill.

“I am nervous about this project because there are significant risks,” she said.

Ross said municipalities and the FVRD will continue to push for more action and co-operation from the company.

“There’s a lot to be worked out yet,” she said.

In addition to the fear of another such spill, Ross is also worried that emissions from tanker traffic will funnel into the Fraser Valley and harm the region’s delicate airshed.

She also questioned whether the economic benefit of the project is overstated, especially as the world moves towards renewable fuel sources.

“I do wonder if they’re overly optimistic given the rapid advances in clean technology.”

Ross said she wasn’t satisfied with the process leading up to the pipeline’s approval, citing the inability to cross-examine Kinder Morgan representatives during National Energy Board’s hearings as well as public participation in those hearings.

Local farmers who have banded together to lobby for regular royalties from the project say they will continue pushing for a new financial arrangement with Kinder Morgan.

Peter Reus, the president of the Collaborative Group of Land Owners Affected by Pipelines, said the group – which represents dozens of Fraser Valley property owners whose land is crossed by the pipeline – isn’t opposed to the project, but continues to demand more compensation.

“We still believe we will come to an agreement with Trans Mountain for compensation.”

Reus said he hopes Kinder Morgan sees the group as being easier to work with than opponents in Burnaby. If an agreement isn’t reached, Reus said the group will pursue arbitration.

“We only think it’s fair as property owners that we get reimbursed for the yearly nuisance and harassment.”

The News has requested comment from Liberal Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Jati Sidhu.

 

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

Just Posted

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near Chilliwack secondary

Third high-school related assault Rob Iezzi’s cameras have captured since beginning of 2021

A free online series on advance care planning is being hosted by two Abbotsford organizations on Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 and 10. (Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash)
Online workshop series addresses ‘advance care planning’

Three sessions hosted by Abbotsford Hospice Society and Association for Healthy Aging

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Most Read