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Concerns about Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Published by
World Pipelines,

As reported by Times Colonist, CBC News, Bloomberg and NS News, various organisations and figures are highlighting the issues and concerns about the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, with many campaigning against the project.

The Wilderness Tourism Association of British Columbia (BC) told a federal panel that the region’s CAN$1.5 billion tourism industry will be left vulnerable if plans to triple a pipeline that will transport oil from Alberta to BC’s coast is approved.

Executive Director of The Wilderness Tourism Association, Scott Benton, said the province’s competitive advantage over other destinations is its spectacular beauty, climate and varied topography. He stated: “Our business is entirely dependent on that natural resource remaining intact.”

However, the tourism group was just one of approximately 12 environmental organisations that presented during the second day of hearings on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project. Other commenters included the BC Wildlife Federation, biologist Peter Vix, Caitlin Vernon, Campaign Director with the Sierra Club of BC and Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps.

According to CBC News: “Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps, says the risk of an oil spill on the BC coast from a proposed pipeline expansion should be a national concern.”

Benton added that the estimated losses in visitor spending in the Gulf states between 2010 and 2013 reached CAN$422 million. 60% of hotels experienced cancellations within six weeks of the spill.

In 2014, BC’s tourism generated CAN$14.6 billion, representing a greater portion of the province’s gross domestic product than forestry or agriculture, according to the Tourism Industry Association of BC.

The majority of comments at the hearing centred on the effects of a potential spill. By Kinder Morgan’s estimates, the likelihood of a spill would increase to one in 46 years, up from approximately one in 309 years.

The government will make a decision on the project based on the panel’s report, the NEB’s recommendation report, Crown consultations with indigenous groups and a review of greenhouse gas emission estimates by Environment and Climate Change Canada. This decision is scheduled to be made following 44 planned town hall meetings and a federal report due in November. The cabinet’s final decision on the pipeline is scheduled before the end of the year.

Trans Mountain expansion project

The Trans Mountain expansion project would triple the capacity of a current pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, to 890 000 bpd. The tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet would increase to 400 tankers per year, up from approximately 60.

The project received conditional approval from the National Energy Board in May 2016.

Edited from various sources by Anna Nicklin

Sources: Times Colonist, CBC News, Bloomberg, NS News

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