Vancouver city council has voted in favour of applying for intervenor status at National Energy Board hearings on the proposed twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
The vote on Wednesday (December 18) came after council spent hours hearing from speakers opposed to the energy company’s plan to twin its pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. Kinder Morgan submitted its formal application to the NEB earlier this week.
“There is a long list of grave risks and negative impacts to our environment, our economy, our community health,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said.
“A lack of systems and infrastructure to prevent and protect our region is significant and certainly for the existing exports that take place, nevermind the extraordinary increase that’s contemplated through Kinder Morgan’s application.”
Among the 35 speakers registered to speak to the motion was Michael Hale, a member of the PIPE UP Network.
“Enbridge and Kinder Morgan both propose to build tar sands pipelines across B.C.,” he said. “This cannot happen. For the past several years, a sea change has been happening in B.C.
“Opposition to Enbridge has swept across the province, and now a super majority of people is against it. While the people have spoken, we are concerned that governments outside of Metro Vancouver are not getting it.”
Actor William B. Davis was also among those to address council.
“What sense is there to build a fossil fuel infrastructure that will triple the capacity that we’re sending across the world?” he said.
“It’s a no-brainer. We can’t do it. Not if we care—not if we care about our future, our children’s future, our grandchildren’s future. We just can’t do it.”
According to deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston, staff will come back to council with anticipated costs associated with participating in the NEB hearings if the city is granted intervenor status.
In an update to council earlier this month, Johnston described the current capacity for response to an oil spill in the region as “uncoordinated, insufficient, and untested".
Kinder Morgan’s expansion proposal would nearly triple the capacity of its current pipeline from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day, and oil tanker traffic could increase from five ships to 34 a month.