U.S. tribes oppose Trans Mountain pipeline

SEATTLE -- A proposed pipeline-expansion project in Canada will put the fishing rights and cultural heritage of U.S. tribes at risk, a lawyer representing several Washington state tribes told Canadian energy regulators.

See Full Article

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project would nearly triple pipeline capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of crude oil a day. It would carry oil from Alberta's oil sands to the Vancouver area to be loaded on to barges and tankers for Asian and U.S. markets. The project would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers that ply Washington state waters.

"This project will harm the cultures of the US tribes," said Kristen Boyles, an Earthjustice attorney who spoke against the project Friday on behalf of the Swinomish, Tulalip, Suquamish and Lummi tribes. She made final arguments to Canada's National Energy Board at a hearing in Burnaby, British Columbia, which was broadcast online.

Boyles told the three-member panel that project officials didn't consult with the U.S. tribes and didn't consider the impacts to the tribes. "This project is all risk and no reward," she added.

The U.S. tribes are among the municipalities, environmental groups, First Nations and residents along the pipeline route who are intervenors in the case. Many have raised concerns about the risk of pipeline leaks, increased vessel traffic and potential oil spills.

Last month, a lawyer for Kinder Morgan Inc. told the energy board that the $5.4 billion expansion can be done in a way that minimizes impact on the environment, addresses social impacts and provides many economic benefits.

"There is no doubt as to the need for this project and the benefits that will flow from it," Kinder Morgan lawyer Shawn Denstedt said in December, according to an NEB transcript. "Trans Mountain has mature operations, maintenance systems, and emergency response plans already in place," he added.

Kinder Morgan said in an email Friday that it was actively engaged with the Washington state maritime community, which included representatives from government, industry, environment and tribes. "Our engagement is focused on providing information and gathering feedback related to marine traffic and emergency preparation and response," it said.

The Washington Department of Ecology, also an intervenor in the case, is scheduled to give arguments next month.

In earlier written testimony, Ecology said it expects an additional 350 loaded oil tankers moving though state waters each year if the project is built. The state wants the project to ensure that vessels calling at the Vancouver terminal follow standards that are as protective as those in Washington state.

"Any spill is immediately damaging, even the smallest of spills," Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, manager of Washington's spill preparedness, said in an interview.

Ecology officials have said the project should require all vessels and barges to have tug escorts. It should also be required to help pay for and develop a response plan to address the risks of vessels carrying diluted bitumen, as well as show evidence it can pay for response and damage costs if a spill happens.

Trans Mountain has agreed to make it a requirement that tankers accepted at the Vancouver terminal have enhanced tug escort from the terminal to the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to Pilkey-Jarvis.

Northwest tribes say increased vessel traffic poses a safety risk to fishermen and could have disastrous impacts on tribal fishing areas that are protected by their treaty with the U.S. They say the fisheries are important not only to jobs and livelihood but that it plays a major part of their self-identity.

"We are speaking directly to the Canadian regulators to highlight the risks of this pipeline to our lives, our culture, and the priceless waters of the Salish Sea," Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby said in a prepared statement.

Environmental groups also worry about the environmental impacts to the small endangered population of orcas that spend time in Washington state and Canadian waters.

The energy board is scheduled to make its recommendations on the pipeline expansion by May 20.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Canadian agriculture ministers briefed on trade-war contingency plan

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay emphasized the importance of the provinces working together as an escalating trade war with the United States puts some farmers on edge. The minister said his provincial and territorial counterparts discussed trade negotiations and the contingency plan during their conference that wrapped up Friday in Vancouver. Source
  • Teamsters members at CP Rail ratify new contract

    Economic CBC News
    Unionized conductors and locomotive engineers at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have voted in favour of a new four-year collective agreement. Members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents about 3,000 workers at CP, voted 64.7 per cent to ratify the new contract. Source
  • Pipeline protesters say they're willing to defy eviction notice

    Economic CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. - Protesters at an anti-pipeline camp in Burnaby, B.C., say they are ready to defy an eviction notice handed out from the city. The City of Burnaby issued a 72-hour notice to those occupying "Camp Cloud" on Wednesday, but protesters say in a news release that isn't enough time to comply with concerns raised over safety. Source
  • Japan resumes Canadian wheat imports after suspension

    Economic CBC News
    Ottawa says Japan has ended its temporary suspension of Canadian wheat imports. Japan had halted shipments after some unauthorized genetically modified wheat was found in southern Alberta. Ottawa says the decision marks an end to all international trade actions arising from the discovery on June 14. Source
  • Ottawa says Japan has resumed Canadian wheat imports after temporary suspension

    Economic CTV News
    Ottawa says Japan has ended its temporary suspension of Canadian wheat imports. Japan had halted shipments after some unauthorized genetically modified wheat was found in southern Alberta. Ottawa says the decision marks an end to all international trade actions arising from the discovery on June 14. Source
  • 'This is madness': Auto industry warns U.S. lawmakers of dire tariff consequences

    Economic CBC News
    The world's automotive industry gathered in Washington with uncharacteristic unity, to deliver a singular message to American policymakers: If you start a trade war with tariffs on cars, you'll shoot yourself in the foot. The issue that has been gaining steam for weeks came to a head Thursday as dozens of representatives from the industry around the world deliver their remarks at a hearing before the U.S. Source
  • Loonie moves up as inflation ticks higher, TSX ends lower along with U.S. markets

    Economic CTV News
    Stock indexes in Canada and the U.S. closed down Friday on geopolitical tensions, while the loonie surged higher after Statistics Canada said the inflation rate jumped in June. Data from June showed the country's annual inflation rate rose to 2.5 per cent for the month, up from a 2.2 per cent reading in May to hit its highest mark in more than six years. Source
  • Loonie moves up as inflation ticks higher, TSX moves lower at late-morning

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - The loonie surged higher after Statistics Canada reported the annual inflation rate in June hit its highest mark in more than six years, while Canada's main stock index lost ground. The Canadian dollar was trading at 76.16 cents US, up from an average value of 75.44 cents US on Thursday. Source
  • Aimia shares surge after it announced Aeroplan program changes in 2020

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Aeroplan's parent company received its biggest boost since announcing a change in CEO in April after its shares surged more than eight per cent Friday after it unveiled changes to the loyalty program once its exclusive partnership with Air Canada ends in 2020. Source
  • Boost to Canada Child Benefit comes into effect

    Economic CTV News
    If you are eligible for the Canada Child Benefit program, your monthly payment could soon be increasing. Effective Friday, the federal tax break is being indexed to inflation, which means an increase to keep up with the growing cost of living. Source