Tankers and tar sands oil threaten Salish Sea

Kinder Morgan plan for Burrard Inlet poses serious risks

On British Columbia’s south coast, Kinder Morgan wants to triple the amount of crude oil being shipped from Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet through Georgia Strait, the Fraser estuary, the Gulf Islands, the San Juan Islands, Haro Strait and Juan de Fuca Strait.

Its proposed pipeline expansions would deliver 700,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day to Burrard Inlet by 2016. Recently, the National Energy Board approved the latest request by Kinder Morgan to divert more oil to their Burnaby terminal, which will consequently increase tanker traffic in the Salish Sea. Despite requests to the NEB by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the Gulf Islands Alliance and other NGOs, this was done without a full public process. Kinder Morgan is seeking approval for additional increases in pipeline capacity by 2016, which would further expand tanker traffic.

While concerned British Columbians are focused on the threat of oil tankers to B.C.’s north coast posed by the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, these incremental applications to the NEB are an effective way for Kinder Morgan to significantly increase the amount of crude oil exported out of Burrard Inlet without ever mentioning the terms “oil tanker” or “tar sands.” The implications of these expansions are significant globally, regionally and locally; the Salish Sea populace will be asked to bear the risks with virtually no public engagement.

The implications of Kinder Morgan’s plans are enormous for the Georgia Basin-Puget Sound ecosystem. This archipelago hosts wild salmon populations, migratory birds on the Pacific flyway, important estuaries, shellfish beds and the habitats of many rare, threatened or endangered marine and coastal species.

The Salish Sea is already suffering intense pressures from growth; chronic oiling and spills will only intensify the declining health of this fragile region.

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and the Islands Trust, as well as the mayors of Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Delta, Sechelt, Whistler and Tofino, are entirely justified in expressing their consternation with the NEB’s decision, particularly given the lack of public consultation. Locally, the southern Gulf Islands and southern Vancouver Island will be left exposed to an increased risk of a catastrophic oil spill as a result of the NEB’s decision.

Chris Genovali is executive director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Misty MacDuffee is a biologist with Raincoast and chair of the Gulf Islands Alliance.

Just Posted

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

Central Saanich police respond to 419 calls in July, including speeding motorcyclist

Police chase deemed too risky, biker tracked down the next day

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Sidney salon closes citing persistent lack of staff

Housing, transit continue to affect workers on Saanich Peninsula

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read