Stop Tar Sands Exports - No Tar Sands Pipelines, No Tar Sands Tankers

Our Canadian Pacific coast is a beautiful and diverse eco-system teeming with life. From our iconic schools of spawning sockeye salmon to the majestic killer whales, the coastline of BC is a treasure that belongs to all of us. This special place could be forever scarred with just one mistake that could lead to an oil spill.

Kinder Morgan's New Trans Mountain Pipeline Proposal

For decades the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta has provided most of the oil we use in BC. But in 2005, Kinder Morgan bought the pipeline with the goal of transforming our inlet into a major tar sands shipping port.

Very quietly in 2007, around the same time the pipeline was accidentally ruptured and leaked into the inlet, a risk assessment panel made up of industry insiders began the process of allowing bigger tankers in our waters. In 2008, the TMX-1 project increased the pipeline's capacity by 50,000 barrels a day to increase exports. Despite the fact that our Pacific coast is now increasingly threatened by a major oil spill, there was no public process or debate in the House of Commons or anywhere else.

As we were all still reeling from the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, little did we know that every week one or two tankers were passing through the Burrard Inlet carrying more than three times more crude oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez. As if that weren't bad enough, now Kinder Morgan wants to increase the capacity of the pipeline up to 890,000 barrels a day—which means more than 400 giant oil tankers a year moving through our inlet. 

For more information on the proposal and on Kinder Morgan's safety track record, see our FAQ page.

 

ArcGIS Online Map of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project

The existing pipeline is shown in yellow, and the proposed preferred new pipeline corridor route is shown in red. The exact final route has not been completely decided and is based on maps submitted in Kinder Morgan's application to the National Energy Board in December 2013. Also shown is BC parks that will be potentially impacted by the new Kinder Morgan pipeline according to BC government documents in dark green, and other parks that may be potentially impacted by new Kinder Morgan pipeline in light green. You can toggle the legend, zoom in or change the basemap imagery with the buttons across the top. You can pan around map by clicking on map and dragging with your mouse. Click 'View Larger Map' below map to open the map in ArcGIS Online map viewer.


View Larger Map

YELLOW = existing Trans Mountain pipeline route

RED = proposed new Trans Mountain pipeline corridor route

DARK GREEN = BC Parks potentially impacted by new pipeline according to BC government document

LIGHT GREEN = Other BC Parks & National Parks that may be potentially impacted by new pipeline

 

The Wilderness Committee has also created a series of PDF maps of the proposed and existing  Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and associated oil tanker route. Click on the map image below to see the rest of our pipeline route maps.

 

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline

The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline poses a massive new threat to pristine areas across central and northern BC, including the Great Bear Rainforest. The pipeline would bring over 500,000 barrels of crude oil from the tar sands in Alberta to super tankers in Kitimat, BC.

The pipeline would cross more than 800 streams and rivers, endangering salmon spawning habitat in the upper Fraser, Skeena, and Kitimat watersheds. The proposal would also bring over 225 giant oil tankers to the north coast of BC, where an oil spill could cause irreversible damage to the pristine Great Bear Rainforest.

Like Kinder Morgan, Enbridge has a history of oil spills and incidents, including the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill that introduced the world to the terrible challenges of cleaning up tar sands bitumen. The company’s poor response prompted a scathing review from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who ordered the company to come back and finish the clean-up job after they’d left the mess to local residents.

Overall, the potential economic benefit to British Columbians is not worth the risk to our resources, especially given that the majority of jobs provided by the project are temporary. If an oil spill were to occur, it would jeopardize thousands of jobs in other, more sustainable industries such as fishing and tourism.

Over 130 First Nations groups have signed the "Save the Fraser Declaration" against the transport of tar sands oil across their lands and waters, and a number of BC municipalities have passed formal resolutions opposing the Northern Gateway project. Polling consistently shows that between 60 and 80 per cent of British Columbians oppose the project.

 

Canada’s good name is being spoiled by expanding the export of dirty tar sands oil, while we all struggle to face the challenges of global warming. The world needs us to transition away from fossil fuels, yet these oil exports are part of a broader strategy to ramp up oil extraction from the tar sands. Instead of playing a leadership role by doing something to halt runaway climate change, the Canadian government is giving big oil companies the green light to put their foot on the accelerator. Now is the time for Canada to live up to its responsibility and to be a good global citizen. We know that our country must do better.

Together we can turn this ship around and get on course.  Protecting the coast means not only keeping our shorelines safe from an oil spill, but maintaining a global climate that's safe for everyone.

 



Got Questions? Check out our FAQ's page.

Click here to view updated maps of the Kinder Morgan pipeline route.

To learn more about the risks associated with transporting diluted bitumen from the tar sands (dilbit), visit our info page about the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill.


Photo: Cleanup crews respond to an oil spill in the Vancouver harbour, 1973. Photo by John Denniston.
 

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Recent Developments

10 weeks 2 days ago

Huffington Post BC
By Eoin Madden

The story of why we all have a stake in Kinder Morgan's proposal to build a mega-pipeline through our communities begins in 2011, with strategy documents exchanged between federal agencies, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and other oil lobbyists. It listed those considered friends and foes of their campaign to prevent oil from the tar sands from being labelled and taxed as more environmentally destructive than other types of oil.

30 weeks 2 days ago

Right now there's an environmental crisis going on near Cold Lake, Alberta. There are four ongoing, uncontrollable spills that have been occurring for months at a tar sands operation, causing bitumen to seep into the environment and up to the surface.

31 weeks 2 days ago

The Wilderness Committee has produced a series of maps of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline route, as a way to help educate people about the many natural areas, rivers, wildlife habitats, and communities that would be affected in the case of an oil spill. 

These new maps were updated in September 2013 to include the most up-to-date route information, as well as highlighting schools, community infrastructure, waterways and endangered wildlife habitats that are crossed by the existing pipeline route.

Take Action

BC Needs a Clear Commitment for a Cooler Planet

British Columbians want the provincial government to take far-reaching action to reduce carbon emissions and protect life on Earth in a rapidly changing climate.

Join us in calling for provincial policies that recommit to emissions reduction targets, expand the carbon tax, stop new fossil fuel projects and shift resources toward renewable energy and green jobs. Click here to sign the petition now.

This petition is a joint project in collaboration with Sierra Club BC the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Climate Justice Project. Signatures collected from all of the participating organizations will be combined and then delivered to the provincial government.

Tell BC's Premier to Say NO to Kinder Morgan!

Write your letter now!

Oil and gas giant Kinder Morgan has filed its formal application with the National Energy Board (NEB), the agency that regulates pipelines, regarding their proposed Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.

Join us in taking action now by sending a letter to BC’s Premier Christy Clark, urging her to do everything in her power to stop the Kinder Morgan project once and for all!

This pipeline poses an unacceptable risk to BC’s communities, wildlife, watersheds and coastline – not to mention the massive climate change impacts associated with tar sands exports.

If an oil spill were to occur in the Salish Sea – a route that could soon see more than 400 tankers coming through per year – it would cause lasting damage to the region’s ecosystems and wildlife, as well as to the local economy.

If you'd like to read Kinder Morgan’s application documents, you can find them on the Trans Mountain website here.

Please use our letter-writing tool to let BC Premier Christy Clark know that British Columbians won't stand for the risk that Kinder Morgan's project represents when it comes to our communities, our coast, our wildlife and our climate!

Together we can continue to send a clear message to our elected leaders that pipelines and tankers have no place on BC’s coast. Click here to send your letter now!

Double Trouble: Tar sands pipeline proposals knocking on BC’s door

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In December 2013, Kinder Morgan submitted its application for the new Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby. The same week, the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel released its recommendation to approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat.

Both these pipelines would carry toxic diluted bitumen from the tar sands, which would devastate land and marine ecosystems if spilled. Both pipelines cross multiple mountain ranges, hundreds of rivers and streams, unceded First Nations territories, and the irreplaceable natural areas that make BC so unique. Both proposals would bring hundreds of giant tankers to the BC coastline – the treacherous Douglas Channel in the case of Northern Gateway, and the crowded waters of Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea for Kinder Morgan.

But spill or no spill, these pipelines would still have disastrous consequences for BC and beyond.

Every drop of tar sands oil that doesn’t spill from pipelines or tankers will eventually spill into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Together, these pipelines would contribute 200 million tonnes of climate-changing carbon emissions to the atmosphere – three times the current emissions from the entire province of BC. 

Kinder Morgan’s proposal will now enter the Joint Review Panel process, which was drastically weakened by 2012’s passing of Bill C-38. We’ll continue to fight this proposal every step of the way, and ensure that the pipeline never gets built. Check out our blog at SalishSeaAction.org for more information on the review process, and stay tuned in the coming weeks for details on how you can get involved.

The recommendation to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline is by no means the end of this campaign. Opposition to this project up and down the coast and across BC and Canada has never been stronger. The fact that the Panel recommended approval despite all the evidence against it, despite the risks it poses, the rejection from First Nations, municipalities, and thousands of citizens who have spoken up, proves without a doubt how flawed the National Energy Board review process is. The final decision on this pipeline will be made by the Prime Minister and the Federal Cabinet, within 180 days of the panel's report.

Now it’s time to make our voices heard.

Use our letter-writing tool to tell the Prime Minister and Cabinet to say NO to both the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelines.

Click here to write now!

Together, our voices can make a difference. Speak out now, and demand once again that our elected leaders do the right thing for BC, Canada, and the world.

 

Kinder Morgan Pipeline + BC Parks = Bad News

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Did you know that pipeline company Kinder Morgan is already doing “research” in our provincial parks?

In November 2013, the BC Ministry of the Environment issued a park use permit to Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P., which allows the company to conduct “research” related to building a pipeline through five BC protected areas: Finn Creek Provincial Park; North Thompson River Provincial Park; Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area; Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area; and Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park. 

In some cases the new pipeline will be alongside the existing Kinder Morgan oil pipeline, which currently runs through certain parks that were established after the original line was built. In other areas, the company is considering an entirely new pipeline route. 

Researchers hired by Trans Mountain are already hard at work, conducting various activities to help evaluate the feasibility of building a pipeline through BC parks. This includes taking soil samples, and even electro-shocking fish – a research technique that involves stunning fish with electric currents in order to assess fish populations in a stream or river. All this research is being undertaken with the eventual goal of having these lands taken out of the parks, under the provincial government’s Park Boundary Adjustment Policy

Recently, however, the BC government was advised that the type of industrial park use permit granted to Trans Mountain was likely illegal under BC’s Park Act. So without any public consultation, the government rushed through Bill 4: the Parks Amendment Act.

In the Legislature, the Minister of Environment admitted:

“The reason we brought forward the amendment — and I would say one of the reasons that the consultation has not been aggressive or thorough on this — is that we are seeking to ensure that we have the statutory authority for things that up until now we took for granted that we did.  … We've been advised that the granting of the permits as we have done likely would not stand the test of a [court] review, and therefore, we need to amend the Park Act to ensure that we can continue on with what we have been doing but with the statutory authority so that we would not be in a case where either the granting of or the denial of the application for a permit could be successfully challenged and overturned based on our lack of authority.” [Emphasis added]

With Bill 4, the BC government has helped out pipeline companies and other industries seeking access protected lands. But the Kinder Morgan research permit was issued before these amendments were made. Consequently, we believe that this permit is likely unlawful. 

Read more about this in the Globe & Mail >>

Our allies at West Coast Environmental Law have been doing some important work on this issue – you can read more about park boundary adjustments and what Bill 4 means for parks on their website here.

We’re calling on BC’s Minister of Environment to revoke this permit and completely repeal Bill 4. We are also urging the BC government to revoke the dangerous Park Boundary Adjustment Policy and stop considering requests from industry to have lands removed from parks and protected areas. Join the tens of thousands of British Columbians who have spoken out against industrializing our provincial park system.

Write a letter today >>

 


Photo: The existing Kinder Morgan pipeline travels through Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park, which was established after the original pipeline was built. Trans Mountain now has a park use permit for this park in order to conduct research for the newly proposed pipeline. (Photo by Gwen Barlee)

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