Province gives okay to tankers carrying jet fuel on Fraser River

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      What Green MLA Andrew Weaver refers to as “floating bombs” have gotten the green light to navigate the South Arm of the Fraser River.

      The B.C. government announced today (December 12) that it has issued a conditional environment assessment certificate to the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corp. for a proposed jet-fuel delivery system.

      A consortium of commercial airlines flying out of Vancouver International Airport, VAFFC plans to send Panamax-class tanker ships up the Fraser River to a wharf and tank farm in Richmond. From there, jet fuel will be transported to YVR through a 15-kilometre pipeline.

      Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman granted the certificate on December 11.

      "We are confident that the prevention measures included in the EA will effectively contribute to the prevention of an accidental fire or spill," the ministers conclude in their reasons for decision.

      The certificate includes 64 conditions. VAFFC is required to use tankers with double hulls, that travel at slow speeds in the Fraser River, and that each have two escort tugboats.

      "With these spill prevention measures, the probability of a medium or large sized spill would be rare and unlikely to occur during the Project’s lifetime," reads the reasons for decision.

      Weaver recently told the Georgia Straight that the VAFFC proposal is "madness".

      “You’re bringing floating bombs into the lower arm of the Fraser River. It’s crazy,” Weaver said.




      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:41pm

      They could pave over a golf course in Point Grey rather than run a pipeline across Richmond. How about putting it on the north side of Sea Island. But, its politics, and it might make too much sense.

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      Stephen Hui

      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:49pm

      Tony Gugliotta, Senior Vice President Marketing and Business Development for the Vancouver Airport Authority, issued this statement:

      "Vancouver Airport Authority welcomes the Provincial Government’s decision to issue an Environmental Assessment Certificate to the proposed Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project. The project, led by Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC), will provide a long-term, safe and secure system for jet fuel delivery to Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

      "The VAFFC, a consortium of airlines operating at YVR, pursued an extensive process of options and risk analysis to arrive at the project proposal that today received the Environmental Assessment Certificate from the province of British Columbia. Included in the project are significant commitments and mitigation measures to ensure a safe and secure jet fuel delivery system that addresses environmental concerns and protects both the natural habitat and the airport’s contribution to the economy.

      "YVR requires a long-term safe and secure jet-fuel delivery system to fulfill our mandate of connecting British Columbia’s people and goods to the world. This project will allow YVR to continue to play a pivotal role in BC’s economy as a financial hub and jobs generator. More than 23,000 jobs at YVR are dependent on the success and continued strength of the airport.

      "YVR is a significant economic generator for the province of BC and contributes approximately $5.3 billion annually in Gross Domestic Product. The existing system for jet fuel delivery to YVR does not meet future projected fuel demands.

      "The approval for the project is as timely as it is welcome: we are well underway with our 10-year capital improvement plan designed to keep YVR a gateway of choice and an airport British Columbia can be proud of."

      Anonymous Coward

      Dec 12, 2013 at 5:04pm

      They're going to run panamax vessels of Jet under the new George Massey Bridge. Right.

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      Dec 12, 2013 at 10:53pm

      Everyone knows this madness. What happened to lowering our carbon emissions? No amount of short term financial growth will feed you, when the waters run with oil/gas etc. I know they accidently dumped 33,000 litres of Jet fuel in Lemon Creek B.C. This summer and well the fish are dead and the area still smells what is going to protect the Fraser? Not sick bunch of politicians that is for sure!

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      Dec 12, 2013 at 11:26pm

      You all realize that jet fuel is just kerosene, right? It just sounds scarier when you call it jet fuel.

      (And Anonymous Coward: Building a bridge to match the 58-metre clearance of the Bridge of the Americas, the limit on Panamax vessels, isn't a big deal – the Alex Fraser, as an example, has 55 metres of clearance. It's the water depth over the tunnel that's the problem. That's why the province wants to replace it with a bridge – if they can do that, they can remove the tunnel and dredge the river.)

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      joe smedley

      Dec 13, 2013 at 10:18am

      i wonder if terrorism was ever a consideration, as these projects seem vulnerable, and open to attacks.

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      Dec 13, 2013 at 10:29am

      Bringing the fuel barge up the Fraser is half the problem the insanity is the pipeline running through the middle of Richmond and almost 200,000 people to get to the airport. Not a word from the three Richmond Lying Fiberal MLA's, I guess they have been bought by the Airport Authority, nothing like supporting the welfare and safety of your constituents eh John,Linda, Teresa,you spineless wimps

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      Dec 13, 2013 at 11:06am

      Build the dam facility on the west side of Sea Island(to the west of the airport) at least a pipeline would not be running through 200,000 people and homes.