EDITORIAL: All have a stake in this

Kinder Morgan announced on Thursday that it plans to more than double the capacity of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Kinder Morgan announced on Thursday that it plans to more than double the capacity of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby. It runs through Abbotsford.

The pipeline will carry an additional 550,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined oil products, for a total of 850,000 barrels per day. Some will be shipped to Asian customers through an existing marine terminal on Burrard Inlet.

The company has been studying the economic feasibility of expanding its system for some time, and the heightened interest in shipping Alberta crude, some of it from the oil sands, to Asian customers has been obvious.

While there will be enormous pressure from environmentalists to stop this pipeline, the case needs to be fully studied on all fronts — economic, environmental, legal and ethical.

While many groups love to decry fossil fuels, the fact remains that most parts of the world are dependent on them to keep their economies functioning.

The Trans Mountain pipeline is, in many ways, a better alternative than the Northern Gateway pipeline which has attracted so much attention. It is an existing pipeline and land issues have been sorted out. The operators over the years have had a good, albeit nor perfect, track record. There was a major spill in 1971, due to clear-cut logging above the pipeline near Merritt, and another in Burnaby in 2007, due to a rupture of the pipeline by a contractor. Those appear to be the most damaging incidents in the pipeline’s almost 60-year existence.

Kinder Morgan needs federal approval to build the pipeline extension. In the meantime, it needs to do extensive consultation in communities along the pipeline route — including Abbotsford. We all have a stake in a project of this magnitude.

– Black Press