By Roy L Hales
The NEB says Kinder Morgan Does not have to answer British Columbia’s questions about responding to an oil spill. The province’s motion concerning redactions to the Emergency Management Program (EMP) documents because “sufficient information has been filed from the existing EMP documents to meet the Board’s requirements at this stage of the process”.
The Province’s Five Conditions
In July 2012, British Columbia drew up a list of five conditions that must be met in order for it to consider support for pipeline projects. Two of these pertained to “oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems”, on land and water.
The Ministry of the Environment submitted additional requests to the National Energy Board (NEB) Friday, but Green MLA Andrew Weaver expressed concerns about how the province’s ability to draw up proper questions when they aren’t been given all the evidence.
“The lack of substantive response from Trans Mountain and the lack of support from the NEB showed a disregard for the essential role that intervenors play in the hearings,” said Weaver.
Weaver is one of the intervenors who have called upon the province to withdraw from the NEB process and conduct its own hearings.
Questions Were Not Adequately Answered
Twenty percent of the 10,000 questions intervenors asked during the first round of questions were not adequately answered.
“After the city and other intervenors complained about the number of questions Kinder Morgan chose not to answer last year, Kinder Morgan attempted to placate intervenors by saying there would be another opportunity to ask questions. So while this should simply be an opportunity to ask new questions – which we are doing – it has, disappointingly, also become a second attempt to get our first questions answered,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, in a press release Thursday.
“Based on the disrespect for our questions that Kinder Morgan has demonstrated to date, we are not optimistic about getting meaningful responses. Nevertheless, because it is the only option available to us, we will again try to get answers within the framework of the flawed National Energy Board process through which this proposal is being reviewed.
The City of Vancouver submitted another 597 questions, and in the process expressed its frustration.
“If there is any hope of the NEB making a decision that truly reflects the public interest of Canadians then all the facts must be on the table,” said Deputy City Manager Sadhu Johnston. “Since the NEB has chosen to exclude oral cross-examination and is instead relying on written questions and answers, it’s imperative that Kinder Morgan answer the questions posed by the City and other intervenors in a full, open and transparent way.”
The Province’s Position
A Ministry of Environment spokesperson explained the province’s position:
The Province has submitted Information Requests today that include questions that seek more information about the Emergency Management Plan, based on the version currently available.
The Province is committed to ensuring that the Trans Mountain Expansion project, if it does go ahead, satisfies the highest standards of environmental protection and protects British Columbia from financial and environmental risk. Any heavy oil pipeline project must satisfy the Province’s five conditions before B.C. will consider supporting it.
The Province is an intervenor in the NEB’s review of the project and has been actively representing the interests of the people of B.C.
It’s important that British Columbia’s concerns be heard before the panel so that they can be considered when ultimately the decision is made by the federal government
Kinder Morgan has committed to engage with the Province in full and complete consultations about the Emergency Management Program for the Trans Mountain Expansion project, as part of a larger consultation effort to support the development of those plans.
The Province will seek information from all appropriate channels to determine if the five conditions are being met. This includes participating in Kinder Morgan ‘s Emergency Management Program consultation process.
Click on the following links to access ECORadio interviews about the Trans Mountain Hearing process with:
- Sarah Kiley of the National Energy Board
- Intervenor Marc Elieson (with clips from the interviews with Greg McDade & Andrew Weaver)
- Intervenors Greg McDade, for the City of Burnaby, and MLA Andrew Weaver
(Top Image Credit: Burnaby Residents on Nov 17, 2014, the day Kinder Morgan’s injunction was read out on Burnaby Mountain. They were to be denied access to the pipeline company’s work area, though Kinder Morgan was working in a Burnaby park against the express wishes of the City Council By Courtesy Mark Klotz via Flickr (CC By Sa,2.0 License)