The Fraser Valley-based PIPE-UP network teams up with the Wilderness Committee and Tanker Free BC to host a town hall meeting in Abbotsford Aug. 15 to discuss an oil pipeline expansion.
The meeting is part of the groups’ effort to foster local engagement among citizens across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to discuss Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline project, say organizers.
Critics say that the Texas-based Kinder Morgan has already been transporting tar sands bitumen in their existing Trans Mountain pipeline to their facilities in Burnaby.
The pipeline is becoming an issue locally as the oil transport company wants to expand its capacity by doubling its existing pipeline that traverses the Fraser Valley, including Sumas Mountain and rural lowlands and urban areas in Abbotsford.
The issue of oil transportation was gained local awareness in January when a Kinder Morgan storage tank at the company’s Sumas Mountain ‘tank farm’ failed and released 110,000 litres of oil into a catchment area.
The strong odours that lingered through the day forced the nearby Auguston Elementary to keep its students indoors, while several residents complained of headaches and nausea.
In 2014, Kinder Morgan intends to ask the National Energy Board to increase the volume of crude oil and processed oil it is permitted to transport in the Trans Canada pipeline from 350,000 barrels per day to 850,000 bpd in a proposed $5-billion expansion.
While the company maintains it will follow all environmental and industry requirements, critics argue the expansion will mean digging up land, damming rivers and disturbing major community infrastructure.
Opponents say the project will also double the risk of a tar sands oil spill that could affect local aquifers, and increase the number of supertankers coming in and out of the Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, which could further risk ocean ecosystems and local businesses.
Since the Kinder Morgan pipeline right-of-way crosses through Abbotsford, the activist groups say community members should have the opportunity to join the discussion. The meeting is a chance for local residents to learn more about the proposal and ask questions.
Speakers will include Ben West of the Wilderness Committee, Sven Biggs of Tanker Free BC, Reuben George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Lynn Perrin from PIPE-UP, and Eddie Gardner of the Stó:lō Nation.
The event is Aug. 15 at 7 p.m., in the University of the Fraser Valley auditorium, 33844 King Rd., Abbotsford.