Oil tanker off the coast of Vancouver

Oil tanker off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia

4 Reasons To Oppose the New Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline

Developing Canada’s tar sands is not our vision for a clean energy future—it’s one of the dirtiest fossil fuel projects on the planet. Let alone the destruction to the environment caused by Alberta’s open mining tar sands pits, we won’t stand for transporting the highly corrosive stuff to be refined into oil any which way the industry tries to paint it: by rail, by pipeline or by tanker.

So, as American energy company Kinder Morgan is proposing to nearly triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline, we’re standing together and saying ‘no’ with concerned citizens in North America and beyond. Their existing Trans Mountain pipeline already spans 1,150 kilometres (714 miles) from Alberta’s tar sands to British Columbia’s stunning, fragile coast.

It’s not the first or only pipeline bringing tar sands gunk to Canada’s West Coast. The implications of tripling Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline capacity are just as nasty as other pipeline proposals, like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, or Trans Canada’s Keystone XL. Here’s why:

4 reasons why Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is bad news:

1. It would increase the barrels per day it ships from 300,000 to 890,000 in 2017 (1). By nearly tripling the capacity of Trans Mountain, the demand to keep the pipelines full would mean that more tar sands would be mined, and more carbon dioxide would be spewed into our climate.

2. It would increase oil tanker traffic on North America’s West Coast to more than 400 giant vessels per year. Exxon Valdez? BP’s gulf spill? You don’t have to do a whole lot of research to see that oil tanker spills are expensive, if not impossible, to clean up. And tar sands is the worst on both accounts. Our economy, our tourism, our marine life, our wild and beautiful coast…there’s simply too much at stake. Learn more and track those tankers at http://tarsandssos.org

3. Its pipelines and tankers won’t be carrying conventional oil. Tar sands isn’t oil. It’s a corrosive, thick substance injected with chemicals to make it just-liquid-enough to pump through a pipeline. This makes spills especially costly and damaging. Just think of the community of Kalamazoo, Michigan, the site of the US’s costliest onshore pipeline disaster, to remember the lasting devastation that tar sands can have.

4. Kinder Morgan doesn’t have a good track record (2):

  • July 15, 2005: About 210,000 litres (55,500 gallons) of crude leaked into the area surrounding the company's Sumas Mountain storage facility in Abbotsford, BC, polluting Kilgard Creek.
  • July 24, 2007: An oil spill occurred along the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Burnaby, BC, when a construction crew accidently ran into the unmarked pipe. Almost 250,000 litres (66,000 gallons) of oil sprung from the pipeline, soaking a residential neighbourhood and seeping into the Burrard Inlet. 50 homes were evacuated.
  • May 6, 2009: A spill was discovered at the company's Burnaby Mountain, BC, tank farm with had nearly 200,000 litres (52,800 gallons) of leaking oil
  • January 24, 2012: A pipeline rupture at the Sumas Mountain tank farm in British Columbia spilled an estimated 110,000 litres (29,300 gallons) of oil. Communities nearby reported nausea, headaches and fatigue, and schoolchildren were kept indoors for fear of airborne toxins.
  • April 3, 2012: Another spill in at Sumas Mountain facility caused strong odors and air quality concerns in surrounding neighbourhoods.

1. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Another-route-for-Canada-s-oil-controlled-by-4458397.php
2. http://wildernesscommittee.org/tankers

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