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Pipeline project concerns for Coquitlam
Coquitlam will join Port Moody and Belcarra to apply as an intervenor in the hearings for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
On Monday, city council unanimously endorsed a motion by Coun. Bonita Zarrillo to seek the status, thereby allowing the municipality to file evidence and to ask — and be asked — questions of the proposal during the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings.
Coquitlam's move follows that of Port Moody, which last week also voted to have a say at the hearings; Port Coquitlam isn't seeking intervenor status as the pipeline doesn't run through that city and Anmore village council has not taken a position, its mayor said.
As of Tuesday, the NEB had received 357 applications to participate, either directly or indirectly, in the hearings; the deadline to apply to take part is next Wednesday.
Besides the local governments, some Tri-City residents and groups also want to be involved. Burke Mountain Naturalists has taken a stand against the company's expansion project (BC Nature is applying for intervenor status on its behalf) while the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation has also stated its concerns.
Kinder Morgan, which currently pays Coquitlam $138,000 a year in taxes, wants to twin its pipeline through part of the Tri-Cities, from Edmonton to Burnaby — almost tripling its capacity.
If the $5.4-billion project is approved, tanker visits to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby would rise from five to 25 per month, an increase that alarms many environmental and political leaders due to a higher risk of oil spills.
Last November, Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, told the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce the goal is to get Alberta oil to foreign markets. He also touted the number of jobs and taxes that would come from the expansion.
The next month, the company submitted 30 copies of its 15,000-page proposal to NEB. NEB spokesperson Sarah Kiley told The Tri-City News the federal agency is now making sure the bid is complete and hearings — if needed — will likely be scheduled within the next month.
Should the NEB green-light the expansion, which involves 981 km of new pipe, construction is expected to happen in 2016 and ’17, the company has said.