The recent explosion at the Yarrow Esso station resulting in the evacuation of local residents and the contamination of local waterways with toxic substances should be a wake up call about the impacts fossil fuel-based accidents could have on our community.
Frustratingly, since 2005, Chilliwack has been dealing with an escalated risk of such accidents, with little or no knowledge to local residents, when Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline began pumping diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to the Pacific Coast for export. Tar sands bitumen is different from conventional oil. It is a substance heavier than water and thus when leaked it sinks rather than floats. To pump it through the pipes it is diluted with a soup of carcinogenic chemicals that gas off when exposed to oxygen. The mixture of diluted tar sands is significantly more corrosive, increasing the possibility of a pipeline break.
Given that Kinder Morgan's pipeline is nearly 60 years old, the transport of this toxic substance through our community is a tragedy waiting to happen.
Sheila Muxlow Chilliwack