Cheeky "Kinder Morgan Surprise" site offers daily critique of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
The following is adapted from Kinder Morgan Surprise, a new site featuring a tongue-in-cheek "advent calendar" created by professor Erica Frank, MD, MPH, that gives daily information on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from an environmental safety point of view.
December 23: What are the facts?
The main issue is that Kinder Morgan Canada is proposing adding a 900 kilometer-long new pipeline to its existing system between Edmonton Alberta and Burnaby British Columbia (see the map below). The $4.1 billion project would increase the system capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to at least 750,000 barrels of bitumen coal blend per day, with most of it going to Asia, creating a four-fold increase in tanker traffic to the BC coast.
December 24: How have things changed?
Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline was originally built in 1952 to ship methane ('natural gas'), and was designed to meet the Lower Mainland's energy needs. In 2005 Kinder Morgan (run by executives from Enron Corp) purchased the once-public BC Gas and its pipeline to ship bitumen from Alberta's oil sands, and to change from the prior, collectively-motivated imperative to a profit mandate.
With the bitumen increasingly destined for Asian markets, tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet increased from 22 oil tankers in 2005 to 71 by 2010.
Kinder Morgan reports 96 tankers in 2012, and anticipates 336 for 2018 when they hope to launch. Notice that, according to Kinder Morgan's statistics on the attached graph, this would make more tanker traffic than all (usually much smaller) vessels combined for fishing, passengers, sailing and other pleasure craft, and the military.
December 25: It's Christmas day: what can you possibly find to complain about Kinder Morgan today?
[Buzz kill alert!] Why do you think all that carbon is being barged to Korea and China? To be burned to make electricity for manufacturing plants to change other fossil fuels into plastic entertainments that are shipped back to North America, wrapped in dead trees, and put under your family's dead tree. Well, you asked.
December 26: So what's next? What about Kinder Morgan's safety record?
In just four years, within the 65 kilometers between Abbotsford and Burnaby Mountain BC, much information has come to light about Kinder Morgan, including a government report on a 2005 Kinder Morgan spill, and an article on a 200,000 litre Kinder Morgan spill in 2009, and a 2007 accident where "about 234,000 litres of oil shot 30 metres into the air for about 25 minutes, covering some nearby homes, and oozing into Burrard Inlet."
The article goes on:
"The Transportation Safety Board eventually concluded the line was improperly marked on outdated drawings used by the contractor and blamed the spill on inadequate communication between Kinder Morgan and the contractor."
Here's an article on a Kinder Morgan explosion in California in 2004 that killed five workers, and earned it fines for "willful violations".
map sourced from Kinder Morgan Surprise
Have a look at the map above: why would we invite this company and its willfully-violating, exploding, shooting, covering, oozing, leaking, spilling, improperly-marked, and inadequately-discussed product to go through this precious and currently-delicious marine ecosystem, and its watershed (more on the watershed tomorrow)?
For more updates, see Kinder Morgan Surprise.