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”.