This spring, a study commissioned by several Lower Mainland municipalities suggested that the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline could cost Abbotsford as much as $17 million over the next 50 years, to construct and maintain infrastructure impacted by the pipeline.
Not surprisingly, Kinder Morgan strongly refuted the conclusions, which it claimed were based on assumptions, incomplete information and the absence of mitigating efforts by both parties.
Or perhaps the report was a worst-case scenario based on real possibilities.
In any case, it highlighted a number of areas of concern that the City of Abbotsford is fully justified in questioning and demanding solutions and assurances.
Some concerns are relatively easy to address, by ensuring a significant degree of guarantee of protection, such as costs associated with civic infrastructure.
Good advance and ongoing planning should identify issues requiring special compensation.
It’s then a matter of negotiating those terms and, as Coun. Patricia Ross maintains, getting commitments in writing.
Such protections are not as straightforward, or even possible, when it comes to environmental issues and concerns.
While Kinder Morgan can be required to go to extreme lengths to contain or mitigate possible spills or leaks, it’s unrealistic to expect a 100 per cent guarantee of safety, despite vast sums spent on protection measures.
Should that mean the termination of the project? No.
Like it or not, this society is still hugely dependent upon oil, for countless products as well as transportation, heating, etc. Whether it’s delivered by tankers, trains or pipelines, there will always be degrees of risk.
But should it motivate us to work toward a green, clean future?