Belcarra mayor Ralph Drew alerts pipeline giant Kinder Morgan to aquatic life in Burrard Inlet

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      Belcarra mayor Ralph Drew has outlined some of Burrard Inlet’s unique marine features amid concerns about risks associated with the planned expansion of Kinder Morgan’s oil pipeline.

      In an August 29 letter to Kinder Morgan, Drew noted that these aspects should be understood as a requirement in “assessing the potential effects” of the project.

      The company wants to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline to up to 890,000 barrels of oil a day.

      “The purpose of my writing the letter is to say, ‘Hey you guys, you got to know this stuff’,” Drew told the Straight by phone. “It’s exceedingly important that they build that knowledge and understanding in their emergency response planning.”

      The Belcarra mayor pointed as an example that it was in Burrard Inlet that Odostomia snails, a new species to Canadian waters, were discovered in February 2012.

      Drew also wrote that the inlet is home to giant pink sea stars, many of which are bigger than the largest recorded samples of this species.

      He likewise noted that that for the first time in many years, there has been a spawn of squid in the eastern portion of the Burrard Inlet.

      On July 25, the Straight published an article on Drew’s suggestions regarding Kinder Morgan’s study of the shoreline environment at its Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby.

      Drew made two recommendations, one of which is the collection of data on aquatic life in the inlet, in a letter dated June 26, 2013.

      When Drew spoke to the Straight on July 23, he hasn’t received a response from Kinder Morgan.

      After the Straight reported about his proposals, he received a letter dated July 26, 2013 from Kinder Morgan’s Margaret Mears, whose title is environmental lead, Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

      In this letter, Mears told Drew that the company will continue to conduct environmental field studies in the vicinity of its Westridge Marine Terminal.

      Responding in the August 29 letter, Drew pointed out to Mears that her “letter did not reflect a demonstrable understanding of the unique aspects of the Burrard Inlet”.




      Aug 30, 2013 at 1:42pm

      The Harper "government", taking its cues from the Fraser Institute and other extremist organizations, promotes that de-regulation is the best policy. For staunch capitalists, it only makes rational sense. Unfortunately, such warped thinking doesn't take into account any long-term impacts for desired short-term profit or political gain. Industry will never regulate itself in any way that adversely impacts its ability to compete. It's ludicrous that Kinder Morgan would seriously consider the plight of a sea snail or starfish in its decision on whether or not to expand its operations. Only if the federal government assigns a high cost to such potential impact would the industry rethink its business model...and likely just move elsewhere. Considering the history of the Harper government I doubt they care for anything but bitumen revenues and corporate kickbacks. Mayor Drew is wasting his ink, either for political gain among like-minded voters, or due to extreme naivety. The consequence of Western Canadian voters supporting the Conservatives will eventually reveal itself in massive devastating oil spills in Burrard Inlet and other BC coastal waters. The consequences of pillage-and-plunder policies over the centuries is similarly resulting in man-made global warming and its increasing weather disasters. I consider the flooding of Calgary and surrounding communities (an extreme weather event due to an extreme climate) just the chicken coming home to roost - ironic that Conservative communities are responsible for their own demise. No, letter writing does little to remedy an increasingly degraded planet and a bleak future - only direct action, civil disobedience (even by out mayoral officials) against our malignant unregulated capitalist system on an international scale, will achieve the change our children need.

      C Brown

      Aug 31, 2013 at 7:08pm

      To learn why the Village of Belcarra mayor took almost three and a half decades to build a 19th Century municipal drinking water piping system for handful of residences by the end of Year 2012 AD, please follow the link.

      Belcarra?s Municipal Water System ?
      A Journey That Spanned More Than A Century
      Researched and written by Ralph Drew, Belcarra, BC, December, 2012.'s_Municipal_Water_System.pdf