Letter: Kinder Morgan bitumen pipe endangers floodplain

Dear Editor,

The deadline for applications for intervenor status in the National Energy Board Application process for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project is Feb. 12.

Langley Township council should become informed of the issues and represent its constituency appropriately.

My family owns a 17-acre farm in Fort Langley. The Kinder Morgan expansion project plans to dissect our farm with a pipeline that will carry (together with the existing line) up to 890,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day.

This is a diversion from the existing pipeline – they are not “twinning” here. There are currently no pipelines on the property, and I would not have purchased the land had there been.

We are in an environmentally sensitive area. The property is bordered by the Salmon River and another a fish bearing creek that is home to many wildlife species, including beaver, bald eagle, and Pacific shrew.

The proposed route runs directly through our septic field, as well as through a large drainage pond that collects surface water from our property and surrounding properties.

It also runs above a large aquifer from which many residents currently draw their drinking water.

The pipeline effectively land-locks a good portion of our field, requiring us to obtain written permission every time farm machinery is required to access the field, and accepting liability should farm machinery accidentally damage the pipeline.

We have researched the Kinder Morgan company, and we believe that it is not a question of “if” there will be a leak, but rather “when.”

The results of even a small leak could be catastrophic in this area.

The Salmon River is a spawning ground and flows directly into the Fraser River. The clean-up and residual effects of diluted bitumen are not yet known. The insurance that the oil company offers for clean-up is dreadfully inadequate, and the Township would, in all likelihood, be saddled with millions of dollars in clean-up expenses when a leak occurs.

Fort Langley, the “birthplace of B.C.,” deserves better than this.

In spite of their claims of “public consultation of affected parties,” Kinder Morgan has never approached neither us nor our neighbours whose land is directly impacted. We have repeatedly requested consultation and information, and they have responded by sending third-party contractors, rather than actual Kinder Morgan employees.

I am astonished that the local and provincial governments would even entertain the idea of this pipeline, given the economic benefits to our province are dismal compared to the risks we take with, not only the pipeline, but the increased tanker traffic in the inlet and on the coast.

But this is a much bigger issue. My request is that the Township Council, following the lead of the City of Vancouver and the City of Burnaby, apply to the NEB for intervenor status and ensure that the concerns of constituents are heard.

Karen Larson, Fort Langley

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