Stop Kinder Morgan

The following is an excerpt from my submission to the Supplemental panel on Kinder Morgan:

  1. The KM project has not been reviewed by any regulatory body or agency to assess if it is in Canada’s economic interest. There is no information from any credible source to claim the project is in our economic interest.
  2. In response to a challenge by UNIFOR, the NEB refused to consider the economy, job creation or economic benefit stating it was beyond the scope of the hearing.
  3. Had this review been under the pre-2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the review would have been by a federal-provincial panel, (not the NEB) the hearings would have invited public participation and the environmental review would have included an examination of alternatives and socio-economic impact.  The process was flawed by the NEB not knowing how to conduct a hearing while working under a fatally flawed piece of legislation, CEAA2012.
  4. UNIFOR intervened against the project as the KM project is a net job exporter.  In fact, if it proceeds it is likely the Chevron Refinery in Burnaby will be forced to close as a result. The Chevron refinery has already reduced production and reduced its workforce by one third as a direct result of the existing NEB permissions for KM to export raw bitumen.  Shipments of bitumen mixed with diluent have received preferential treatment by NEB licencing and shipments of syncrude have been reduced.  That is why Chevron has difficulty obtaining crude it is capable of refining.  Like other Canadian refineries, Chevron in Burnaby cannot process raw bitumen.
  5. Bitumen for export costs Canadian jobs.
  6. The government should conduct a review of the economic impact of processing bitumen in Alberta and prioritizing use of the refined product in Canada, while reducing imports of foreign oil.  This should be placed in the context of an overall transition off fossil fuels. In the context of developing a climate plan that seeks to reduce, not expand emissions as under Alberta’s current target, the study should assess the amount of carbon that needs to stay in the ground and the amount that can be used as we eliminate coal from electricity, while estimating the remaining use of oil, gas, diesel and propane in Canada from refined bitumen within the carbon budget.
  7. Environment Canada was incorrect in assessing that the KM pipeline will not cause an increase in GHG.  The departmental review made a critical error, in contrast to the Keystone US Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared from Secretary of State John Kerry. The US EIS found that the question of whether a new pipeline would stimulate increased investment in the oil sands, with expansion increasing GHG, to be price dependent.
  8. As long as the price of a barrel of oil in world prices is below $80/barrel, any new pipeline infrastructure will create pressure to increase production.  The building of a pipeline is irrelevant to expansion and growing GHG emissions concerns when the price is above $80/barrel. While it is not possible to know with certainty the price of a barrel of oil next year, we can state with certainty that building any pipelines for export of raw bitumen at current prices, or even at a price close to double the current price, will create pressure for additional oil sands production and an increase in GHG.
  9. The evidence produced by KM is not worth the paper it is written on as it was never tested in cross-examination.
  10. The only evidence from KM about the fate and persistence of bitumen and diluent in the marine environment came from a one-time only, non-published, non-peer reviewed experiment over a 10 day period in Gainford Alberta.  The researchers who conducted the experiment were not put forward for cross-examination, and neither did they respond in writing to interrogatories.
  11. Published studies, peer-reviewed and conducted in conditions that replicate the marine environment demonstrate that the dilbit mixture separates and that small “oil balls” of bitumen are created and sink.
  12. The tanker route is along the US border through the shared international boundary cutting through the Salish Sea.  The southern Gulf Islands and the Washington State San Juan Islands are essentially one ecosystem.  No satisfactory consultation has taken place with Washington State officials, or the US EPA.  From personal knowledge of concerned residents on the US side of the border there is deep alarm about the KM project.
  13. No approvals should take place without consideration of the Good Neighbour principle under international law.
  14. First Nations impacted by the project have not been consulted in ways that come close to the constitutional requirements confirmed in numerous Supreme Court of Canada decisions. A number of First Nations have filed legal actions, but it is not said often enough that this is essentially an unfair situation. The failure of governments to listen to the facts and separate themselves from the mindset that assumes these projects have benefit has created an unfair burden on some of our poorest communities to spend scarce resources on legal action. This time, over KM, the government should make a clear and unambiguous statement that consultations with indigenous peoples cannot be rushed and require a full and respectful nation-to-nation process.
  15. The First Nations in SGI have a specific and different set of rights than many others opposing the project due to the Douglas Treaty.  Each individual member of the Saanich First Nations has a right to commercial activity along the tankers’ routes. This has not been addressed.
  16. The massive increase in tanker traffic through the Port of Vancouver has been clearly established by the evidence of the City of Vancouver to represent an unacceptable risk.
  17. It is not a question of the risk of a tanker accident, but the certainty of one.  As TransMountain KM has no responsibility for the as yet unidentified tankers or their owners, the treatment of these risks has been cursory.

The only credible additional information that this panel is qualified to pass on to the federal decision-makers is that this project cannot be approved.  The following commitments from the Liberal government will be violated should the project be approved:

  1. A respectful nation to nation relationship with First Nations;
  2. Evidence-based decision-making;
  3. Science-based decision-making;
  4. Action to reduce Greenhouse gases.