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Background: Kinder Morgan Pipeline Hearings


Many of you are familiar with Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry heavy oil from the Alberta tar sands to the B.C. coast. The Northern Gateway pipeline has stirred significant public concern in B.C. with polls showing that more than half of British Columbian’s oppose the pipeline. As we get closer to the final Federal Government decision on Northern Gateway, we must now turn our attention to another pipeline that is in the middle of its public review process.

tanker2Kinder Morgan has applied to build a new pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby. This pipeline would run parallel to the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which currently carries a variety of petroleum products, including some diluted bitumen, resulting in four tankers per month transiting Vancouver harbour and our southern coastline.The “twinning” of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline (as the company likes to refer to it) will in fact triple the amount of diluted bitumen from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day resulting in over 300 tankers annually carrying Alberta heavy oil to markets in Asia. To put this in context, Kinder Morgan would be able to transport nearly twice as much diluted bitumen as the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline is currently undergoing a National Energy Board (NEB) review process. based on this review, the NEB will make a recommendation to the Federal Government on whether or not the new pipeline should be built. The review process is a critical opportunity for British Columbians to evaluate the application, question the proponents and experts and voice their concerns.

With this in mind, I applied for and was granted intervenor status in the NEB hearings. I did this because I believe my constituents deserve a voice in the proceedings. Having intervenor status gives me the opportunity to question Kinder Morgan and other intervenors on the evidence they submit, and to submit my own evidence. I also have the right to comment on conditions the pipeline must meet in order to be approved, and to present an oral argument to the NEB.

For example, as a first step in advocating for a more effective review process I joined other intervenors in successfully calling for the NEB to extend the initial deadline for the first round of written questions to Kinder Morgan. I have also called for the panel to include oral cross-examination in the hearing process. Oral cross-examination was a vital part of hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, and was vital to uncovering many of the gaps and inconsistencies in their evidence.

Over the coming months I will be offering several ways you can submit your questions, comments and concerns. I invite you to take the Kinder Morgan Survey, check out my “Inside the Hearings” blog for an insider’s take on the pipeline review process, and write me with your comments and concerns. Your feedback is essential and I will make every effort to represent it during the review process.

Thank you for taking the time to join me in this process.

Andrew Weaver

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