Encounters with the mysterious Kinder Morgan workers of Burnaby Mountain [VIDEO]
"We appreciate that some people are against this," he said, referring to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, "but we are just here to do our work and try and keep the site as tidy as we can."
When asked how the morale of the Kinder Morgan crews was faring, Stevenson responded quickly — "Oh, great." He admitted, however, that "it's a fairly pressured kind of atmosphere."
"But I think that we're just doing the work we're supposed to do and that we like doing. That's no more pressure than a lot of things we do."
Stevenson was then forthcoming about why he likes his work.
"I really enjoy putting the land back to either a natural condition or the function that it was meant to have. Say, for instance, you were in a wilderness or pristine area — we try and return the land back to that function, and the function for the things that live there. We sort of try to have a holistic view about what we do."
"Obviously, when we're in an urban situation, we have to consider the human element and what people want of their environment, whether it's a park or whether it's somebody's garden."
Given the scale of the protests that had been occurring over the last few days, it only seemed appropriate to ask what he thought of the opposition to Kinder Morgan's work in Burnaby, and whether — if indeed he was concerned with respecting the wishes of the people — it changed the way he viewed his work.
In regards to those who oppose Kinder Morgan's plans to run a pipeline through Burnaby Mountain, Stevenson began by saying "that's obviously their prerogative to have that opinion," then, after a pause, he noted that "it's a big consideration for what we're doing, obviously."
He continued: "I personally do not understand how people can drive motor cars and have the standard of living they have without having the oil products shipped to them. But I also appreciate people's concerns about climate change and how we might do things differently in the future."
I asked how he squared his appreciation of concerns over climate change and the integrity of the wilderness with his work for Kinder Morgan, which, as its website states, is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America. Here Stevenson seemed careful to distinguish his own work as an environmental specialist in charge of restoration from that of the rest of the company.
"I fully believe that in the work that I do that we are stewards of the landscape that we're in. We try to put it back — as I said before — the way we found it. We study it very, very carefully before we build or are allowed to build a pipeline. We submit all those studies to the NEB. We hope people read them and understand them — they're very complex. But we base our work on scientific evidence and on social evidence as well. For instance, I believe that the majority of people along the route are not opposed to the pipeline."
When asked to substantiate this last claim, Stevenson initially directed me towards the information that Kinder Morgan itself made available to the public, before acknowledging that one might consider this a biased source. He then referred to his positive personal experiences working on other sections of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion as evidence for his claim, noting especially his work on the section that runs through Jasper National Park. "I was involved with that," he said, "and we got an award for our sensitivity to the environment."