LETTER: Opportunity to speak up on proposed pipeline

The government of Canada’s ministerial panel on the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal is holding a public meeting in Abbotsford on July 26.

The government of Canada’s ministerial panel on the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal is holding a public meeting in Abbotsford on July 26.

On that same date, residents of Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties in Michigan will be remembering their harrowing experiences from when a similar pipeline ruptured, making residents ill and throwing their lives into chaos.

On July 26, 2010, they awoke to discover that a pipeline had ruptured, spilling between three and four million litres of diluted bitumen into their communities and the Kalamazoo River.

Can you imagine the fear and confusion of waking up in the morning to find the fresh Fraser Valley air suddenly full of toxic fumes? Or the desperation as you, your children, your parents, friends, neighbours and pets develop headaches and begin to cough and feel nauseous, dizzy and fatigued?

How about your anger, grief and worry upon learning that you have to evacuate your homes because the fumes to which you and your family have been exposed include cancer-causing benzene?

Maybe you would join hundreds of volunteers in a largely futile effort to remove toxic bitumen from the Fraser River or clean it off of hundreds of contaminated birds and animals?

Some Abbotsford residents have already lived through similar experiences with the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline. In 2005, local residents were directly affected when roughly 210,000 litres of crude oil leaked into the pipeline right-of-way and Kilgard Creek. Clean-up workers were unnecessarily put at risk of carcinogenic benzene exposure because Kinder Morgan was slow to notify that the spilled crude oil contained it. Ten years later the riparian area has not been remediated.

In 2012, a 110,000-litre spill at Kinder Morgan’s Sumas terminal created concern for local residents and particularly for students at Auguston Traditional School, who were kept inside the school for the day.

We don’t ever want the people of the Fraser Valley to suffer through a much larger disaster of the type residents of Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties have had to deal with.

Unfortunately, the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline would put Fraser Valley residents, the salmon-rich Fraser River and the local economy at increased and unnecessary risk of something very similar.

You have an opportunity to raise these and other concerns at the public meetings. The Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal has not been approved and can be stopped. The sparse and fleeting benefits it might bring to Fraser Valley residents are far outweighed by the risks.

Please take action now to defend your community and environment.

The Abbotsford meeting takes place in Hall A at Tradex. The exact schedule for the meetings in Fraser Valley and other B.C. communities can be found at http://mpmo.gc.ca/measures/272

Michelle Borland Smith, former resident of Calhoun County, Michigan and Lynn Perrin, Pipe Up Network, Abbotsford

 

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

Just Posted

Car giveaway set for MEI on Friday

One lucky alumni member will receive a new Mazda 3

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

Abbotsford Police issue 81 speeding tickets in school zones over 2 days

‘30 in 30’ traffic-enforcement blitz took place last Thursday and Friday

Salvation Army kettle campaign raises $121,000 in Abbotsford

Christmas fundraising up $20,000 over previous year

VIDEO: Chilliwack arson victim lights up rural property like a runway

Chris Thompson had enough after twice having barns torched in suspicious circumstances

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read