Texas-based pipeline giant Kinder Morgan wants to move up to 890,000 barrels of diluted bitumen oil through Langley Township per day.
This project will be before the National Energy Board soon and Langley residents have every reason to be worried if the project receives permission.
The Conservative government has limited public participation at the NEB review, and the omnibus budget bill, C-38, made NEB decisions subject to federal cabinet approval. What was once a quasi-judicious and independent decision-making process is now in the hands of politicians.
Here in Langley, a handful of local community groups, First Nations, affected landowners, and the Langley Township have received intervener status with the NEB.
Local interveners will bring forward â€œwhat ifâ€ scenarios.
There will be concerns about the danger to the drinking water in our aquifers and wells. Questions will be raised regarding the effects on fish-bearing streams and endangered species like the Salish sucker. Langley Township will no doubt focus on emergency responses and damage mitigation. Landowners will point to property value loss and disruption to farming. Local First Nations will be concerned, not only with environmental threats, but will raise questions about land claims and rightful ownership and control.
But are these the only concerns Langley residents should have? They are important, but there are global implications, as well.
The question that will not be brought before the NEB is whether the extraction, transportation, processing, and use of diluted bitumen oil is a good idea for the planet and future generations.
With direction from the federal government, the NEB refuses to consider the climate impacts of bitumen. It deems climate effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta oil sands outside the purview of these public hearings.
The NEB hearings may very well be a sham, because the real power sits with the party that wins the federal election in October.
However, the Kinder Morgan pipeline should be a defining issue for Langley residents. We owe it to our grandchildren and great grandchildren to learn more and take a position.
Shane Dyson, Aldergrove