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Kinder Morgan asks feds to forbid City of Burnaby from halting pipeline work

Out lawyered?  Energy giant uses its legal muscle in an attempt to override city opposition to its plans for the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline.

Kinder Morgan protest Burnaby Mountain - Kennedy Stewart
NDP M.P. Kennedy Stewart with Burnaby residents who showed up to support the City of Burnaby's work stoppage order against Kinder Morgan on Wednesday - Photo by John Clarke.

Kinder Morgan's lawyers have filed a motion with the National Energy Board to force the City of Burnaby to get out of the way of the company's crews that have been trying to do exploratory drill work, for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The Mayor of Burnaby has long opposed the oil sands pipeline project through the city.  And lately, city staff have made appearances wherever Kinder Morgan workers have tried to do their activities on Burnaby Mountain.

The company is the midst of applying to build a $5.4 billion Alberta-to-Burnaby oil sands pipeline, but it first needs to do geotechnical work on the mountain, where a new routing is planned.

NEB asked to step in

So now, the Texas-based energy giant is asking the federal regulator to forbid the City of Burnaby from "denying and obstructing Trans Mountain or its representatives and agents in gaining access to their lands for the purpose of making surveys, examinations or other necessary arrangements on the [Burnaby Mountain lands for the project]."

"I don't understand how any company can go into an area that is considered a conservation area," said Shirley Samples, who works with BROKE (Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan Expansion).

"Kinder Morgan is extremely arrogant -- and they just think they have the law on to themselves, and that is very disturbing to me when so much is on the line: our river, waters, and shorelines," she added.

She said the show down at Burnaby Mountain is creation serious attention.  She said the Wall Street Journal is up there covering this story.

"It's creating world wide attention."

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan calls the company's survey work in a conservation area "destructive."

“Kinder Morgan claimed they had a lawful order when they started work.  But they’ve now conceded that the extent of their work was not sufficiently authorized by the NEB, and they’re going back for a second try."

“For them to blatantly disregard our laws as they have – with no authority to do so – is appalling. Our Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area exists because our citizens decided they wanted this area to be protected. They did so democratically and their decision – and the laws protecting this conservation land – should be respected," said Corrigan in a statement.

The Trans Mountain project is a twinning of the existing 1,000km-plus pipeline, to allow the conduit to triple its capacity of bitumen oil.  The project will result in an increase in tankers in Burrard Inlet from 60 to 400 per year, the company has stated.

Kinder Morgan pipeline construction - company photo

Kinder Morgan pipeline construction - company photo
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