Friday, June 14, 2013
Merrit BC oil spill underscores pipeline risks
Released by Michael Hale, Pipe Up Network
he spill in the late afternoon of June 12, on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline near Merritt, BC is one more reminder of the perils of pipelines these days.
"By a stroke of luck, the spill did not enter any waterways, saturate a farmer’s field, or worse yet, a school yard," said Jordan Wilson, a Chilliwack member of the PIPE UP Network.
National Energy Board (NEB) records show that there have been seventy-nine spills in the sixty-year old pipeline’s history. According to the NEB, twelve barrels (approximately 1,900 litres) of oil spilled near the Coldwater River 40 km south of Merit. “It was a small spill and fortunately, it appears that it wasn’t diluted bitumen,” added Wilson.
“Since Kinder Morgan bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in 2005, hundreds of thousands of litres of oil have been spilled in four major spills,” said Abbotsford resident Lynn Perrin. “Kinder Morgan bought the pipeline to transport diluted bitumen from the tar sands for export to Pacific Rim markets. There is considerable risk and little benefit for BC residents.”
“Increasingly the company is shipping bitumen and PIPE UP’s research suggests that the risks of transporting bitumen are higher than those of conventional crude oil. Diluted bitumen is heavier and more toxic than conventional crude,” added Perrin. “Spills of bitumen in Burnaby in 2007, the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010 and in Mayflower, Arkansas in March of this year show the devastation that can occur.”
“Alarm bells should be ringing for people here in the Fraser Valley” said Wilson.
Kinder Morgan wants to build another pipeline through our communities. It is not a question of if we get another spill in Southwestern BC, its a question of when. We are lucky that there has only been one major bitumen spill in Southwestern BC—the spill of over 230,000 litres in Burnaby in 2007—but can we risk another one?
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About Pipe Up Network
The PIPE UP Network is made up of residents of southwestern BC who have joined together over 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.
PIPE UP members are dedicated to informing themselves and their communities about the realities of tar sands. We agree that: 1) Great harm is being done to the planet through current levels of tar sands extraction, 2) the risks of transporting bitumen are evident, 3) there is no net economic benefit in tar sands exports for British Columbians, and 4) there are alternatives, such as renewable energy and electric transportation.
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