Friday, March 13, 2015


Film Explores Pipeline Impact  

NEB criticized for lack of public consultation

By Michael Hale, Pipe Up Network/Ross Dixon, Lynn Perrin and Michael Hale photos


An expert panel fielded questions from the audience of about 100 following the film screening. Ross Dixon photo. Below, Attendees listen as Eddie Gardner sings and drums. Photos submitted by Lynn Perrin.


ill the Fraser Valley be “directly affected” by oil-export pipelines? Do we put highly valuable Fraser Valley farmland and salmon habitat at risk by allowing pipeline development? Those are questions that were explored in the March 11 screening of the film Directly Affected at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Abbotsford campus.

The film tells the story of the people and places impacted by the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline proposal. It challenges notions about the supposed economic and societal benefits of the project and examines potential costs. It features a number of Fraser Valley residents including Abbotsford resident, John Vissers.

“According to the FVRD, the estimated annual value of Fraser Valley agriculture is more than $2.5 billion. The potential costs of aquifer or soil contamination in the event of an oil spill would be catastrophic and should be discussed in Abbotsford before we allow another pipeline to be built through the city,” said Lynn Perrin, a member of the PIPE UP Network, co-host of the event.

The Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline proposal would nearly triple the capacity of the current pipeline system to transport diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Burnaby for export. The National Energy Board review process for the project has been heavily criticized for its limited public participation. In the second round of information requests, sixteen of the City of Abbotsford’s questions were inadequately answered by Kinder Morgan, including questions about emergency response plans.

In light of concerns about the National Energy Board process, Vancouver filmmaker Zack Embree and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation teamed up to produce Directly Affected. Their intent was to give a voice to the people who were not deemed “directly affected” by the National Energy Board in its consultation process.


The panel: (L to R) Lynn Perrin of PIPE UP, Tim Cooper UFV physicist, Misty MacDuffee, Raincoast biologist and Lisa Powell, UFV agriculture specialist. Photo submitted by Michael Hale, Yarrow. Below, John Vissers, Order of Canada recipient, moderated the event and was also featured in the film.

The filmmakers heard a number of concerns about the project from First Nations representatives, academics, and landowners One farmer asked whether he would be able to drive a tractor over his land during the haying season due to a proposed Kinder Morgan right-of-way. Others are concerned about the effects of a spill into the Fraser River or its tributaries.

Ross Dixon of Raincoast, who introduced the film, said: "Beyond the economics we must weigh the balance of purported benefits with what society wants, including action on climate change. We also must consider how we want this beautiful place we live in to be protected. We must speak up for the salmon that run our streams and the critically endangered southern resident killer whales that we know will be dramatically impacted by Kinder Morgan's proposal, regardless of an oil spill." 

Abbotsford resident John Vissers was moderator for the event. An expert panel fielded questions from the audience of about 100 following the film screening. Panel members included UFV agriculture expert Lisa Powell, Lynn Perrin of the PIPE UP Network, Raincoast Conservation Foundation biologist Misty MacDuffee and Tim Cooper, a UFV physicist.


About 100 people were in attendance. Photo submitted by Michael Hale with Pipe Up.


The PIPE UP Network is made up of residents of southwestern BC who have come together because of our concerns about the safety, environmental, and financial implications, of shipping tar sands along Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, AB to Vancouver, BC.


Raincoast Conservation Foundation is a team of conservationists and scientists empowered by their research to protect the lands, waters and wildlife of coastal British Columbia.




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