Belcarra mayor Ralph Drew wants better emergency-response programs for Burrard Inlet oil spills
As mayor of the Village of Belcarra, Ralph Drew has good reason to worry about oil spills in Burrard Inlet.
The way he puts it, his municipality is “just a stone’s throw” across the water from Kinder Morgan’s loading facility in Burnaby. Drew is conscious of the risks that come with the energy company’s plan to pump more oil through its Trans Mountain Pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, increasing the current volume of 300,000 barrels a day to 750,000.
Drew has been busy writing the federal National Energy Board and Kinder Morgan. He’s asking them to come up with better emergency-response programs for dealing with oil spills in the inlet.
Drew recalled that when oil gushed from a ruptured Kinder Morgan line in 2007, it was two hours before responders came. “Belcarra feels there needs to be a legislated maximum response time,” Drew told the Straight in a phone interview. “In other words, you got to be on the ground containing the oil within 30 minutes.”
The mayor is also a member of Metro Vancouver’s port cities committee, which will hear a presentation from a representative of Kinder Morgan at a meeting this Thursday (July 26). No doubt, Drew will be asking a lot of questions.