Tsleil-Waututh Nation Deeply Concerned by Kinder Morgan Project Description

New infrastructure at Westridge Terminal, Burnaby tank farm pose grave risk to Burrard Inlet

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC, May 28, 2013 – Tsleil-Waututh Nation is disturbed by details revealed in Kinder Morgan’s Project Description filed last week with the National Energy Board. The document outlines further details for the new Trans Mountain pipeline. Of particular concern to the Nation is the tripling of oil storage tank capacity in Burnaby and the significant expansion of the Westridge Marine terminal.

“Kinder Morgan’s plans should concern us all,” says Chief Maureen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “They are proposing a huge increase in infrastructure that will run right through the heart of countless neighbourhoods and territories. Not only do we need to be worried about the impact of a natural disaster or a pipeline failure, but daily operations also leak so-called ‘acceptable’ amounts of oil into the environment. All of our communities will be exposed to dangerous pollutants.”

Kinder Morgan’s plans call for the existing 13 oil storage tanks in north Burnaby to be doubled to 26 and their capacity tripled to 890,432 cubic metres of oil. The Nation has grave concerns about such a significant amount of oil being stored in close proximity to Burrard Inlet. In 2012, Kinder Morgan spilled approximately 90,000 litres of crude oil at its Sumas tank farm. The company was criticized by the NEB for late detection of the leak and not following procedures. Operators ignored warning alarms for three-and-a-half hours before responding.

The project also calls for a replacement of the docks at the Westridge Marine Terminal in order to accommodate three tanker berths. The company may need to dredge the Inlet in order to conduct this work. Dredging could have a serious impact on the health of the Inlet as it stirs up toxins that have settled in the sediment.

“When our people paddle on the water, we see the impact of ‘everyday operations’ on the health of the Inlet. We see the sheen on the water and on the shore. We can no longer eat the shellfish from our beaches,” says Gabriel George, Project Manager, Sacred Trust Initiative, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “Our Nation has a sacred trust, a responsibility to care for our lands and waters. We must protect what we have left and work together to restore what we have lost. We cannot support Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline.”

Pipeline projects face strong opposition from First Nations in BC. More than 160 Nations have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, an Indigenous law ban on tar sands pipelines through First Nations traditional territories. It also bans tar sands oil tankers in the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon on the north and south coasts of British Columbia.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation is adamantly opposed to Kinder Morgan’s proposal to build a new pipeline to bring crude oil/bitumen to foreign markets through Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. The proposal would see the transport of crude oil expanded from its present level of approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The pipeline terminates in Tsleil-Waututh territory. The Nation has experienced the results of crude oil handling and refining on Burrard Inlet for a number of decades. The Nation is expecting government-to-government consultation on this project.

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