Trans Mountain pipeline protesters ‘dying’ for a cause

Protester’s stage a ‘die-in’ to highlight concerns over the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion project (Joel Ballard/BCIT News)

Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder-Morgan Expansion or BROKE held a ‘die-in’ demonstration in protest of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion this morning. The Protest was held at the bottom of Burnaby Mountain and aimed to emphasize protesters concerns.

BROKE aims to not only prevent the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline but to raise awareness of how the expansion will effect the City of Burnaby. Protesters of the pipeline expansion acted out ‘dying’ in front of the regional offices of the Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, this morning.

Spokeswoman for BROKE Ruth Wamsley says the ‘die-in’ protest is meant to dramatically highlight the dangers Burnaby Mountain residents are faced with from the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s tank farm capacity.

“It’s a dramatic way to convey that a catastrophic loss of life is a very real possibility here. Kinder Morgan has downplayed the risks of a major accident occurring.  But other authoritative reports such as the Burnaby Fire Department, they did a tactical risk assessment of the project and they have come to the conclusion that there is no way they could deal with a major accident such as a fire.” – Ruth Walmsley, Member of BROKE

The risk assessment from the Burnaby Fire Department is from May 2015. In the assessment it says there is a 70 percent increase in the number of tanks that do not provide safe deployment for fire operations in the case of an accident. Since 1961 Kinder Morgan has had 82 spills but only two of those have occurred at the Burnaby terminal.

Map of the proposed pipeline expansion from Edmonton Alberta, to Vancouver, British Columbia (Kinder Morgan)

 

Kinder Morgan plans on tripling the capacity of the tank farm on Burnaby Mountain by adding in 14 new tanks. The project will extend the pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia. This expansion is expected to cost roughly 7.4 billion dollars and is expected to create both short and long term jobs in the process of construction and the years following completion.

In a press release President of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited says Kinder Morgan has consulted with various communities on the safety of the pipeline expansion.

 “We have undertaken thorough, extensive and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal Peoples, communities and individuals and remain dedicated to those efforts and relationships as we move forward with construction activities”  – Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited

Vancouver officials are also in court today asking a judge to review the Environmental Assessment Certificate that was granted to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project by the former Liberal government. The City of Vancouver’s request in only one of many launched by environmental groups, the City of Burnaby and B.C First Nation’s groups.

To hear more from Ruth Walmsley watch her full interview below:

With files from Joel Ballard