A group of residents in Burnaby is focusing on the “significant seismic hazard” in the Lower Mainland in its final arguments against an expanded Trans Mountain oil pipeline system.
“A major earthquake could result in ground motion, liquefaction, and landslides that have the potential to damage the pipeline and storage tanks at the Burnaby Tank Farm, with catastrophic outcomes,” according to the Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE).
Representing more than 800 residents, BROKE is scheduled to present its oral arguments today (January 28) before the National Energy Board at the Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre.
An executive summary of the group’s final arguments note that Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Inc., wants to “build a major oil pipeline through a densely populated urban centre with the highest seismic risk in Canada”.
According to BROKE, “the chances of a major earthquake occurring in this region are not remote, but rather the inevitable outcome of geological forces that are generally well understood”.
The group also argues the project would “add significantly to the existing risks to public safety posed by a major earthquake in this region”.
“Despite the seismic hazard, Trans Mountain wishes to transport 890,000 barrels of toxic dilbit [diluted bitumen] through the region each day,” the document states. “And despite its enthusiasm to impose these risks on the local population, the company is only prepared to build its pipeline to minimum enforceable design standards.”
The paper went on: “These design standards are intended to apply to the construction of new buildings, not pipelines. These are lower standards than those applied to other high-risk projects such as power plants and dams, or important buildings such as hospitals and schools.”
The summary was prepared by BROKE’s legal counsel, Neil Chantler.
“I grew up here, and as far back as I can remember, the Lower Mainland has been preparing for a major earthquake,” Chantler said in a media release. “We should be reducing – not increasing – the risks posed by a major earthquake. This pipeline and the expanded tank farm will sit like time-bombs.”