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New report highlights risks of Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

Conversations for Responsible Economic Development (CRED), a diverse group of BC-based business owners, academics and activists have released a new report highlighting the risks of the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The highly readable report -- filled with graphics and charts -- contains background information for readers who may be unfamiliar with the project, explaining diluted bitumen, the history of Kinder Morgan, as well as the pipeline route from Alberta's oil sands to BC.

The report explores a wide range of concerns as well as proposed benefits of the pipeline (35 permanent jobs) and risks such as BC's lack of preparedness for a major spill and the long-term environmental damage that would be caused. 

Dr. Rashid Sumaila, Director at UBC’s Fisheries Economics Research Unit, examined at the jobs that would be affected by the proposed pipeline.  

"When we at Northern Gateway, we're just looking at ocean-related business, like fishing. But here, it involves businesses in technology, the movie industry, real estate...to me, that was really quite revealing as a natural resource economy." 

The report indicates that over 93,578 jobs in accommodation and food would be affected, as well as 8,400 jobs in the clean tech industry and 14,143 jobs in the real estate market. 

Graphic source: CRED

"People tend to think I'm saying this (criticism of the Kinder Morgan pipeline) because I don't like business -- but actually it's completely the contrary," he explains.

"We're doing this to sustain businesses and livelihoods for the long term...We all like economic growth. But I don't want the kind of economic growth that wrecks our environment." 

Graphic source: CRED

With regard to response systems in the event of a major spill, the report outlines that if the shipowner or another party accepts responsibility, they would call for cleanup efforts which would take between six and 72 hours, depending on the spill size and location. If the responsible party can't be found, the Coast Guard will lead clean-up efforts -- but due to the recent closure of the Vancouver and Kitsilano stations, the nearest Coast Guard ship is located 30 minutes away in Richmond. 

Sumaila said that while he isn't opposed to "calculated risks" for the sake of economic growth, he believes it's important for communities to be well-prepared, and to ensure that "those who take the gains also can pay for the risks." 

For more, read the CRED report. 

 

Graphic source: CRED

 

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