Would tanker traffic increase if the proposed pipeline was built?



Yes, the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project could result in a massive increase in tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet. Now, approximately 60 tankers move through the Inlet per year. The project would see this number increased to over 400 large crude oil tankers per year (Assessment Report, p. 44).


Tankers in Burred Inlet


What are the impacts of increased tanker traffic?

(From the Assessment Report, p. 78)

  • Acoustic disturbance: Increased tanker traffic will cause acoustic disruption underwater, and cause marine animals to change their behaviour — especially culturally important species such as whales and blackfish. For more information, see our page on the pipeline’s impacts on whales.
  • Impaired views: Increased tanker traffic would impair views of the shoreline, which is necessary for cultural work. This will also make the reserve less attractive, will impede market housing growth, and will lead to loss of revenue for businesses in the Burrard Inlet.
  • Loss of quiet and privacy: Increased tanker traffic will make it difficult for Tsleil-Waututh members to find quiet, private spaces in order to continue with traditional cultural work.
  • On-water hazards: Increased tanker traffic will block Tsleil-Waututh members from accessing cultural and spiritual sites, and other resources, which will lead to loss of cultural work and revenue. It will also pose greater risks of on-water accidents.
  • Perceived pollution and physical obstruction: Of course, spilled oil will contaminate water and shorelines, kill wildlife, and will thus cause illness and prevent the Tsleil-Waututh Nation from accessing their cultural, spiritual, and economic resources. Tanker traffic would also physically obstruct access to these important aspects of life.


Increased tanker traffic would lead to shoreline erosion.


  • Shoreline erosion: Ocean waves caused by increased tanker traffic would erode the shoreline and destroy our beautiful beaches, which would lead to a loss of archaeological and heritage sites, fish habitats, and general Tsleil-Waututh Reserve land.
  • Undermined legal authority: Increased tanker traffic and its implications would violate Tsleil-Waututh law by denying the right of current and future generations to control and benefit from our waters and land.

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You might also be interested in

What would the economic cost of an oil spill be? A 2012 study on the potential economic impact of a tanker spill on ocean-based industries in British Columbia, conducted by the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia estimates that a medium-sized spill on British Columbia's north coast would cost the regional economy up to $189 million.
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