Pipeline expansion could increase tanker traffic in area

NANAIMO – Kinder Morgan meets with directors to explain effects of expansion on Strait of Georgia.

A Kinder Morgan Canada proposal to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline system could lead to increased tanker traffic in the area.

The energy company made a presentation at the Regional District of Nanaimo board meeting last week, detailing the expansion of the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to the Westbridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. If approved, the flow of oil would increase from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000.

The tanker route runs from Burnaby through to the Strait of Georgia, the Gulf Islands, through Haro Strait, Boundary Pass and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Michael Davies, Kinder Morgan Canada senior director of marine development, told the regional district board that tanker traffic at Westbridge could increase from five to 34 a month if the expansion is approved.

Regional District of Nanaimo Area A director Alec McPherson is concerned with the routing and said there is much potential for environmental damage, but likes how Kinder Morgan has gone about keeping people apprised of its plans.

“I like the way Kinder Morgan is supplying information but I’m sitting, waiting to see what else they tell us and they have been very good at going through all these different steps and they seem to be going that step beyond to try and make people comfortable,” he said.

Kinder Morgan is planning to file an application with the National Energy Board in December, which Davies said will be the beginning of a review process by the energy board.