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District of West Van won't ask for intervenor status on Kinder Morgan pipeline, for now
Unlike the City of Vancouver, West Vancouver won't be asking for intervenor status at National Energy Board hearings on Kinder Morgan's twinning of the TransMountain pipeline — at least in the near future.
In July last year West Van council voted to write a letter to Kinder Morgan opposing any increase in oil tanker traffic through the Port of Vancouver.
Now the district is waiting for Kinder Morgan to produce its Facilities Application to the NEB, which is expected this month, before commenting further.
Echoing statements he made earlier, West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said he wants more information on the pipeline project before he opposes it. In a 6-1 vote in July, he was the only council member not to immediately voice opposition.
"Because I have a logical business mind, I don't oppose things until I see what I'm opposing," Smith told The Outlook today (Dec. 5).
"…The people who are charged with the responsibility of evaluating it — the National Energy Board — haven't made a determination, so why would we comment on it without knowing the facts?"
He said council could address the project once they hear the National Energy Board's response to the Facilities Application, which covers route and construction plans. Hearings are expected to take place in the fall of next year.
Kinder Morgan announced last spring that it will seek approval to twin its TransMountain pipeline and increase its current 300,000-barrel-per-day capacity to as much as 850,000. The number of tankers filling up in Burnaby could hit 360 in 2016, five times more than the record 69 crude tankers in 2010.
This would mean many more oil-filled ships would pass through West Van waters.
If the application is successful, the pipeline would be twinned from Strathcona County, Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson tabled a motion on Dec. 4 asking for intervenor status after reading a report produced by the city on the potential impacts of increased oil tankers in the Port of Vancouver. Among other risks, the report said current response capacity to an oil spill would be inadequate.
Intervener status would allow the City of Vancouver to join in NEB hearings on the pipeline. The months ahead will determine whether or not West Vancouver will ask for the same right.
"We've sent a letter saying we're opposed. As far as I'm concerned the matter is dealt with by council," said Smith. "Just because I didn't agree, I still go along with the majority of council."