The effects of a spill from the Kinder Morgan pipeline across the river from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows could affects large watersheds and the Fraser River.
This was the message at the Maple Ridge Pipeline Town Hall Meeting Wednesday evening at Golden Ears United Church.
The meeting was put on by the Wilderness Committee, TankerFreeBC, Fraser Valley Pipeline Watch, Katzie First Nation, and Golden Ears United Church, and there were more than 100 people in attendance.
“When something is affecting our land, I’m going to do something about it,” said Ruben George, the Sundance Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation who was part of the panel of speakers.
George said that like the 1960s and 1970s movements, people have to stand up for what they believe. But now, instead of saving other people, humans are saving themselves.
The Kinder Morgan pipeline, names the Trans Mountain Pipeline, currently moves 300,000 barrels of oil per day through its pipeline from Edmonton to Kamloops, Burnaby, and Washington State.
The expanded pipeline would be able to move 750,000 barrels per day.
The company is currently consulting with the public on the project, for example, with a meeting in Langley in November.
Their goal is to apply to the National Energy Board in late 2013 to begin a regulatory project review. The regulatory review is planned for 2014 and 2015, and if approved construction would take place in 2016 and 2017, with operations beginning in 2017.
If the pipeline were expanded, there will be two lines. The existing one would be used for refined products, synthetic crude oils, and light crude oils, and the new line would be used for heavier oils.
The project is estimated to cost $4.3 billion.
Lynn Perrin from the organization Pipe Up pointed out the original pipeline was built in 1953, but many areas it goes through have been built up over the years.
Perrin said she lives near the Sumas pump station where there was a leak in the pipeline in January.
She was concerned that a spill on the Kinder Morgan line would affect local fish, tourism, and property values.
Michael Hale, who lives in Yarrow, spoke on behalf of Pipe Up, another organization opposing the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
He is concerned about extraction of tarsands and the risk involved. But, he added, he’s also concerned about the economics of the environment, saying that the environment is the “container.. where everything survives and fails.”
Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters said she was at the meeting on a personal fact-finding mission. She said she learned a lot about the project rather than just hearing the pros and cons stated.
“What I enjoyed was getting the facts,” Walters said. “I wanted to learn more.”
Pitt Meadows council hasn’t taken a stand on the issue, but they haven’t been approached on the issue, and Walters said she hasn’t heard much discussion in Pitt Meadows about it.
Walters sits on the Metro Vancouver parks and environment committee and there has been discussion about the pipeline there, but “nothing firm” has come of it.
Walters said she was appreciative that the meeting was held locally, because with a busy schedule, it’s hard to get out to meetings in downtown Vancouver.