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Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018


You Know What You Know

Stephen setting up to grill Kinder Morgan on the clear and present danger of a pipeline at January hearing

By Ian Stephen, Waterwealth executive director/VOice file photos


Protesters outside of MP Mark Strahls's office on Vedder Road November 23, 2016. Below, bitumen is what will be flowing through the pipes.

inder Morgan (KM) filed their reply evidence in the realignment hearing Monday. I'm just working my way through it, but in the section on emergency access found something worrisome.

In an earlier response to an NEB information request Kinder Morgan talked about the qualifications and experience of the contractor they'd be bringing in to install the new pipeline through the tight residential neighbourhoods where they'd be going through back yards between houses on the realignment route (The route referred to as "P2" in the hearing).

They would of course have to take out fences, pools, shrubs, and sheds, and they included diagrams showing how they would protect the old pipeline from the heavy equipment while installing the new one. Protection that incorporates the dirt from the excavation as part of the protection for the old pipe during construction.

WaterWealth's written evidence included "The same would be true again for maintenance or emergency access. Even if all systems work flawlessly, accessing the areas of P2 between houses would delay spill response."

Kinder Morgan's response today includes: "To access a spill site, responders will remove non-permanent structures such as decks, above ground pools, fences, and sheds. Permanent structures may also have to be removed if required."

Of course permanent structures in this case means houses. I'll have to ask them about this in cross-examination later this month, but the way that reads to me they're saying that in the event of an emergency (ie leak) in those residential neighbourhoods they would if necessary run an excavator through someone's house to access the spill site from the side of the pipe that was leaking, because of course to come in from the end of the block and put in protection for the pipes to run the excavator along the right-of-way in an emergency would be just too time consuming. They'd even have to bring in fill to do it as shown in their construction diagrams because they wouldn't be excavating all the way along so wouldn't have that dirt to use.

I've attached one of the diagrams. There are more diagrams in the information request response in the document "A87475-3 IR No. 3 Attachment 1 Mitigating Construction Footprint - A5W4Z7"

The BC Hydro route, which is the route they're trying to move the new pipe out of and which WaterWealth is arguing they should instead move the old pipe into, has no houses on the north side, so they could approach a spill from that side there.

Of course this realignment hearing is only about a 1.8 km section of the pipeline and neither of these routes is acceptable in the bigger picture.

We look forward to the detailed route hearings for our area where we hope to have the route across Chilliwack rejected to protect both Chilliwack and Yarrow's drinking water wells, as well as the recreationally and ecologically valuable salmon spawning areas at Peach Creek and Browne Creek Wetlands, and the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.

If they're going to build the new pipeline it and the old one should be placed alongside Highway 1 where there are no schools, residential neighbourhoods, community wells, or habitat enhancement areas.

About Waterwealth

The WaterWealth Project is a non-partisan, citizen-driven initiative that works to amplify the voices of local community members who love the place in which they live, the nature around them, and the waters that sustain them. We are a diverse mix of local residents, including teachers, business owners, fishers, farmers and doctors. We are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, children and grandparents. Based in Chilliwack, BC, our work ranges from community issues to provincial and national water policy.

Our goal is 100% community control over decisions affecting our local home waters. We recognize that long term solutions to the protection of fresh water and the benefits that we all enjoy from our water wealth can only be achieved with a recognition of First Nations rights and title. We work for local communities to have the power to say 'yes' or 'no' to decisions that affect the wealth of their water.



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