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Jet fuel proposal is the most sustainable option
Re: “Jet fuel proposal is a disaster waiting to happen,” Aug. 9.
VAPOR is once again using incorrect information and inflammatory language to try to discredit the proposed Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project.
Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation followed a precautionary approach in the design and study of the project that was recognized in the recent environmental assessment as “academic and industry best practice” and “state of the art” for spill modelling and incident preparation. We engaged leading scientists with expertise on Fraser River hydrodynamics, navigation and spill prevention. We assumed extreme conditions compared to expected operating conditions to help develop robust marine response strategies to protect sensitive areas.
Spill probability factors used in our application were extremely conservative. They were based on global spill statistics over the past 20 years for all types of petroleum products, including when single-hulled vessels were used, regulations were less stringent, and navigational technology was less advanced than today. Using data from the last 10 years would have resulted in projections being far lower than those used in our analysis. The probability of a spill of any size is very low and certainly not guaranteed as VAPOR tries to suggest.
As for seismic activity, the project will use modern design and construction practices. These standards are a significant advance over the existing aviation fuel pipeline. Also, the fuel storage facility tanks will be more than 1,000 metres (not 400 yards as VAPOR asserts) from the closest residential areas, much further than a number of areas near fuel handling facilities in Burnaby.
VAPOR wrongly implies that in the event of a spill, VAFFC will not have the assets or resources to provide compensation. VAFFC is required by law to carry insurance for our operations as are the shippers. This insurance, which will be substantial, is also backstopped by government administered spill funds.
VAPOR also suggests that an eight-day supply of jet fuel at the airport somehow negates the need for expansion or a new system. This is incorrect. VAFFC has already constructed additional storage at the airport that, when full, can provide up to eight days of fuel in the event of a supply disruption. The proposed project is about getting fuel to the airport.
This project will replace the current fuel delivery system with a more efficient configuration having a smaller physical and environmental footprint that better aligns with the current fuel supply logistics. Expanding the existing fuel delivery system is not viable due to its age, location, length and cost. This project is the most sustainable option for the future.
The new fuel delivery system will contribute to YVR’s growth and strengthen its position as a gateway of choice for airlines. The project is a culmination of years of research, review and consultation that demonstrates beyond reasonable question that the risks are low and will be managed to insignificant levels with well-understood and available technology and expertise.