May 2015

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expect more spills in the future and acknowledge that at least 720 Abbotsford residents are at risk from a future spill.

Read here:  FOI Document between Kinder Morgan and Abbotsford Fire Department


Residents Highlight risk to local economy, lack of jobs, and toxic spills as Kinder Morgan makes official application to build new pipeline

logo-green-guy-100.pngLower Mainland, BC - The other shoe has dropped. Now there are two active applications to build tar sands pipelines across BC. Kinder Morgan’s proposal to add a new 540,000 barrel-per-day pipeline was submitted to the National Energy Board on December 16. PIPE UP, a network of residents of Southwestern BC, finds the application consistent with what BC residents have heard from the company in the past year-and-a-half and thinks British Columbians will want to be heard about how these projects could change their way of life. 

“They want to turn BC into a carbon corridor,” said Chilliwack resident Michael Hale. “This tar sands project exposes BC residents to all the risks of bitumen transport with few benefits. The question is: ‘Should we put communities, ecosystems, and coastal industries at risk so that Kinder Morgan can make huge profits at our expense?’”

Abbotsford resident Lynn Perrin stated: “I’ve been reading through the company’s enormous submission and don’t find their claims credible. There are pages and pages on the alleged economic benefits of the pipeline. I had to look hard to find it, but there are less than 100 permanent jobs in BC after construction is completed. The small number of permanent jobs is not worth the risks to school children, aquifers, rivers and wetlands.

“The company’s claims sound very similar to the ones made by Enbridge in their submission for the Northern Gateway project. That submission has been analyzed by economists such as Mark Lee of Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Robyn Allan, former head of ICBC. Both conclude that there are ‘no net benefits for BC’. We need to take these warnings seriously,” said Perrin. 

“What community in BC wants to contend with the horror of a bitumen spill?” said Aldergrove resident Susan Davidson. “I think that a criterion for a world class spill response would be no spills at all. By that I mean not only no pipeline spill, but also no tanker truck spill and no rail spill. Of course the companies cannot meet that standard. We have seen the horrors of the tar sands spills in Burnaby in 2007, Kalamazoo Michigan in 2010 and Mayflower Arkansas earlier this year. The Trans Mountain Pipeline has had 80 spills over its lifetime. That is more than one per year (there were two spills this year). 

Davidson offered the following advice to the BC Government: “Listen to the people. Don’t allow shipment of this dangerous stuff through BC. We need an energy plan for BC that meets our energy needs sustainably, ensures prosperity for all and preserves our magnificent environment.” 


Members of the PIPE UP Network have spent the past year-and-a-half educating themselves and their neighbours on the pros and cons of the transport of oil sands diluted bitumen. PIPE UP will be filing for intervenor status in the National Energy Board hearings to raise concerns that relate to transporting the toxic heavy oil product through places within their communities.

For more information or for interviews, please contact: 

Susan Davidson,     Aldergrove        (604) 857-1400
Michael Hale,          Chilliwack          (604) 799-3391
Lynn Perrin,             Abbotsford        (604) 309-9369

PIPE UP Network

Activist pulls back curtain to show Kinder Morgan pipeline flaws and Kinder Morgan questions his credentials
Close up photo of Trans Mountain pipeline by David Ellis
Kinder Morgan has quietly been removing some 5005 cubic metres of oil-contaminated soil from its Trans Mountain pipeline near Coquihalla Canyon, near Hope since June 28, according to the National Energy Board (NEB). "I think there's been more oil spilled than they're saying," Vancouver-based pipeline critic David Ellis said, about the reported 25-barrel figure. And while a Kinder Morgan representative told the Vancouver Observer there were "no Kinder Morgan-branded trucks" moving any contaminated soil, NEB spokesperson Rebecca Taylor confirmed that soil was indeed being removed, a good part of it "definitely directly contaminated". Oil-soaked soil biodegrades over time, but can harm vegetation at its roots and can be toxic to animals if ingested.

Ellis has photographed places where the pipeline was exposed and corroded and signs indicating where pipeline anomalies may be. A bookseller specializing in Western First Nations literature and a former fisheries planner, Ellis raised an alarm when he saw trucks moving soil to Tervita Corporation in Richmond, which specializes in disposal of industrial waste.

Questioning credentials and demanding answers

Ellis treks out on weekends to pipeline excavation sites (where security has received orders not to let him pass) and frequently sends the NEB inquiries accompanied by photos about the pipeline's condition. By his estimation, there are 35 recent urgent repair sites along the pipeline where the company performed hydrostatic testing in October. The Texas-based company's plans to twin the aging pipeline and expand capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day, in his view, could place British Columbians at risk for a big spill, Ellis told the Vancouver Observer. 
Given that Coquihalla Canyon is a provincial park area teeming with wildlife (and only 40 kilometres from Hope), people should be relieved that Kinder Morgan has been removing the soil and replacing it. 
Except that four months and 600 truckloads later, the company is still taking out soil, and that leads him to believe something isn't right. Kinder Morgan spokesperson Andy Galarnyk insisted that "the large volume of soil removed (from Coquihalla Canyon) was not considered hazardous waste, but was removed to meet strict clean up criteria because of its location within a provincial park." The NEB agreed that its cleanup standards mean removal of soil until it is tested to be completely safe. Galarnyk added that Ellis "does does not have any experience or qualifications to comment on pipeline operations".

But the bookseller, who has a Masters in Science from UBC and extensively documents the pipeline around the Coquihalla and Kamloops, has raised questions that are getting harder to dismiss. 

Oil-soaked soil 'under-reported' - Trans Mountain - Coquihalla Canyon
November 1, 2013 - Kamloops - The Daily News

Oil-soaked soil 'under-reported'

By Mike Youds Daily News Staff Reporter

National Energy Board says 5,000 cubic metres of earth removed from site of July spill


The National Energy Board says that more than 5,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil have been trucked out of the Coquihalla Canyon since a pipeline spill last summer, leading a critic to believe the spill was much larger than reported. 
The volume reported by the NEB would represent removal of almost 600 truckloads of contaminated material from the site. 
Patrick Smyth, business unit leader with the NEB in Calgary, cited the figure in an email to pipeline critic David Ellis. Ellis questioned the delay in releasing the figure. 

"The volume says the spill was greater and it's been under-reported," Ellis said. "There needs to be a full investigation of this and the NEB should make it public. What went on down there? A pinhole leak or a break?" 

Kinder Morgan Canada shut down Trans Mountain pipeline last summer due to two spills that were described as minor at the time. In June, a spill occurred near Kingsvale, south of Merritt, followed by a second in the canyon two weeks later. 
As a result, Kinder Morgan set about repairing the leaks and remediating the sites. All of the contaminated soil was trucked to the Tervita Corporation in Richmond. 

Read more:

Alarm bells ring with new report of B.C.'s oil-spill system
Michael Smyth: Alarm bells ring with new report of B.C.'s oil-spill system

Premier Christy Clark is concerned that B.C. is not prepared for a large coastal oil spill.

Photograph by: Jason Payne , PNG

British Columbia is not prepared for a large coastal oil spill and the spill-prevention-and response system needs a major upgrade, especially before any new oil pipelines are approved.

That will be the bottom line in a new report on the province's oil-spill system to be released this week by the Christy Clark government.

As B.C. debates two major oil-pipeline projects — Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline and Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline — the government hired Alaska-based Nuka Research to investigate our coastal-spill system.

The company's report has been received by the government, I'm told, and Clark hinted at its contents in comments last week.

"We are woefully under resourced," Clark said, adding the spill-response system must be improved, especially "before any more heavy oil comes off the coast."

British Columbia already has hundreds of oil tankers passing through coastal waters and this week's report will question whether the spill-response system is adequate even for existing tanker traffic, I'm told.

The report will echo earlier concerns raised about B.C.'s inadequate preparation for a major coastal oil spill.

"Even a moderately sized spill would overwhelm the province's ability to respond and could result in a significant liability for government," said briefing notes prepared in June for B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak and obtained by The Canadian Press.

Read more:

Experts say dilbit could have caused Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill



Chris Tackett
Energy / Energy Disasters
September 20, 2013

According to experts in the failure of oil and gas pipelines, there are a handful of factors that can contribute to a pipeline rupture, like the one on Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline that spilled toxic diluted bitumen or dilbit from the Canadian tar sands into a Mayflower, Arkansas lake and subdivision.

Those factors include pressure swings within the pipe, reversing the direction of the flow of oil, the quality of the original pipe construction and a build-up of hydrogen atoms inside tiny cracks in the pipe.

Elizabeth Douglass reports at The Arkansas Times that all of these factors were in play in the Pegasus pipeline rupture.

Some operators may change their pumping pressures and their cycles to accommodate customers or to push more crude through the pipe faster, which generates more fees. Exxon, for example, increased the amount of dilbit flowing through the Pegasus by 50 percent in 2009. To accomplish that without installing larger pipe, Exxon had to send oil through the pipe faster, either by adding pumping stations or increasing the overall operating pressure, or a mix of the two.

Three years earlier, in 2006, Exxon also reversed the direction of the pipeline's flow, a move that would automatically alter the impact of pressure cycles by changing where the highest and lowest pressures hit along the pipeline.

Big changes in the internal pressure cause pipe to repeatedly flex, and that can cause special problems in crack-prone vintage pipes like the Pegasus. Exxon's pipe was doubly challenged, however, because its pipe was known to be exceptionally brittle around the seams. Brittleness can cause pipes to fracture instead of flex, just as the way wire will break after being bent back and forth repeatedly

And pipeline experts suspect the makeup of the tar sands oil or dilbit Exxon was transporting played a role, as well...

Read more: