Earlier this year, we announced our intentions to pursue expanding the Trans Mountain Pipeline System, which has been responsibly transporting oil between Edmonton and Burnaby since 1953. At that time, we committed to embarking on an open, extensive and thorough engagement process on all aspects of the proposed expansion project along the route and marine corridor. It was a promise, to hear every voice and every concern.
Since then our conversation has begun in earnest and we’ve received much feedback from interested British Columbians. Of all the feedback we’ve received, risk and safety — particularly pipeline safety and marine safety — have been the primary concerns. This concern is echoed in the B.C. Government’s five conditions for oil pipeline projects. We’re confident that, with the cooperation of others, this concern can be addressed.
We understand the safety is paramount. On the pipeline itself, we’ve had very few incidents in a history spanning nearly 60 years. For us no spill is acceptable, but we have plans to respond, clean up, remediate and learn from every incident should one occur. While we cannot promise there won’t ever be a spill, we can tell you this: we’re doing everything we can to prevent them.
There’s been much discussion about heavy oils and bitumen and whether these types of products pose increased risk. Bitumen isn’t something new, but a resource Trans Mountain has been transporting for close to 30 years — with no scientific or operational evidence that it is any more corrosive to the pipeline than other products. The bitumen in our pipeline is less dense than salt or fresh water, and will float if there’s a spill.
Beyond risks and safety, another theme we’ve heard loud and clear from individuals and in the B.C. Government’s five conditions is that people want to know about the benefits of expansion for B.C.
The project promises to yield significant economic benefits for communities along the route. It will create both construction and long-term jobs, and we are committed to hire companies and workers from communities and Aboriginal groups along the pipeline. Should the project proceed, more than 60 per cent of the $4.1 billion in projected construction costs would be spent in B.C.
B.C. and its communities can also benefit from opportunities associated with this project to create legacies such as investments in the green economy, environmental stewardship, First Nations communities and improvements to drive a world-leading spill response and cleanup capability. We have some ideas, but also want to hear yours.
A large part of our project team is local, based in B.C. communities along the pipeline. We’ve been reaching out to the 2,200 landowners along the pipeline and meeting with community leaders, elected officials, environmental groups and Aboriginal groups to get their perspective. We agree with the Province’s view about building strong and enduring relationships with First Nations and we will meet its expectation to address Aboriginal rights.
We’ll soon be expanding our public engagement program, providing the opportunity to learn more about the proposed expansion and give feedback on routing options, soliciting ideas on the kinds of benefits they’d like to see, and listening and responding to concerns.
The Trans Mountain team is committed to earning your trust and confidence — not simply to be able to say we did but because it’s the only way forward.
President, Kinder Morgan Canada