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KMI vs NEB: the final countdown

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World Pipelines,

Recently, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting that he postpone the review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. He wrote that it should be suspended while the federal government employs the changes that were promised, regarding the method in which regulators evaluate pipeline projects.

Corrigan wrote: “I am now writing to request that the amendments be expedited to avoid perpetuation of the current, deeply flawed NEB process that the public and your government have already acknowledged is inadequate.”

Prior to the hearings – beginning on 18 January – interveners filed written arguments on Kinder Morgan’s US$5.4 billion proposed expansion project.

Trudeau’s promises

In June 2015, Trudeau assured he would engage in a “new open process” for all oil and gas pipelines. This included an analysis of environmental hazards and greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, in August 2015, he stated that the new open process would apply to all existing pipelines, and that he believes the Trans Mountain review “needs to be redone.”

Nevertheless, it appears the city was disappointed and unimpressed by Trudeau with regards to how little progress had been made.

“We are very concerned that the federal government has not really taken their commitment seriously,” Burnaby Councillor Sav Dhaliwal stated.

What the state wants

The state had explained to the NEB that they wanted more detailed information on the existing pipeline’s emergency response planning. This was to help guarantee that there would be a timely and effective incident reaction.

As a response, Kinder Morgan submitted a heavily edited emergency plan that did not help them determine whether it was satisfactory or not.

British Columbia Environment Minister, Mary Polak, stated: "This is about the test that would allow this pipeline to go forward. We're saying that at this time in the NEB process, the company has not met it. It does not close the door on them meeting that test potentially in the future."

In a press release, the city stated: “Of the nearly 1400 questions submitted by the city to Kinder Morgan, at least 40% of responses given by Kinder Morgan were deemed by the city to be unsatisfactory.”

The hearing

This May, a panel will be informing the cabinet on whether it approves the project. As a result, Ottowa will then have three months to make a decision on the pipeline expansion project.

If approved, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would add 980 km of new pipeline its already transporting 300 000 bpd of crude oil.

Edited from various sources by Stephanie Roker

Sources: The Tyee, The Vancouver Sun, The National Observer, The Globe and Mail

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