Kinder Morgan seeks National Energy Board ruling regarding municipal permits in Burnaby

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      One of the most vocal critics of the $7.4-billion Kinder Morgan pipeline has been Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan.

      Now, the pipeline proponent is claiming that the local government headed by Corrigan has failed "to act in a timely manner" in awarding municipal permits.

      A Kinder Morgan subsidiary has filed an application to the National Energy Board "to allow us to go ahead" with the work in Burnaby on its Trans Mountain expansion project.

      This "notice of motion and notice of constitutional question" was filed by Osler lawyers Shawn H.T. Denstedt and Maureen Killoran.

      The corporation copied this letter to 14 federal, provincial, and territorial attorney generals in Canada, including B.C.'s David Eby and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

      "While we await the NEB’s determination, as always, our door remains open to the City of Burnaby and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss a solution," the corporation says on its website.

      The pipeline was approved last year by the Trudeau government and would nearly triple shipments of diluted bitumen through its system to Burnaby to 890,000 barrels per day.

      City of Burnaby report outlines local objections

      Earlier this year, Burnaby council authorized staff to file statements of opposition with the National Energy Board over Kinder Morgan's proposed routing plan.

      A municipal staff report noted that the Trans Mountain expansion project includes 980 kilometres of new pipeline infrastructure, 193 kilometres of reactivated pipeline, 12 new pump stations, and 19 new tanks to store fuel, including 13 in Burnaby. One other tank in Burnaby is being replaced.

      In addition, the pipeline project would involve the expansion of three tanker berths at Westridge Marine Terminals in Burnaby.

      The pipeline expansion will lead to the expansion of Westridge Marine Terminals to facilitate more tanker traffic.
      City of Burnaby

      Once the pipeline is completed, oil-tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet will increase more than six times, with approximately 400 of these vessels travelling through these waters every year.

      The expansion project includes a 914-millimetre pipeline to be installed with "trenchless technology" through the Brunette Conservation Area, according to the Burnaby staff report.

      This area close to the pipeline must be "required to be permanently free of trees and shrubs to allow for visual inspection of the pipeline corridor by Kinder Morgan".

      According to the City of Burnaby, this "will result in fragmentation of the conservation area and impact the local streams and the ecology of the area".

      "Furthermore, the proximity of the pipeline to the Brunette River, and lack of ability for timely containment in an event of a potential pipeline rupture or spill, will also have a major impact to the Brunette and Fraser Rivers," the report stated.

      It also cited concerns about the section of pipeline project leading to Cottonwood Park, which includes "environmentally significant areas associated with Stoney Creek and its related riparian setbacks to the west of the property".

      The pipeline will go through the Brunette River conservation area.
      City of Burnaby

      In addition, staff expressed concerns about the corporation's notification process for residents.

      "Only those landowners whose lands are to be crossed or occupied by the pipeline have been provided with information regarding the proposed 10.0-metre wide pipeline easement and related information on workspace and access areas required by Kinder Morgan," the staff report states. "For Burnaby lands, workspace widths are shown to vary from 6.0 metres to 25.0 metres. This is in addition to the 10.0-metre width for the proposed pipeline easement."

      The report noted that the way the information is being conveyed by the corporation "compromises a person's ability to make an informed decision and respond to the NEB within the limited 30-day response timeline imposed by the NEB Act".

      Kinder Morgan is seeking an expedited response to its recent application. It's requested that the 14 attorneys general and the City of Burnaby provide written responses to the National Energy Board by November 6.