Vancouver mayor urges prime minister to reject Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

The oil pipeline is “not worth the net risk for Vancouver residents and the Canadian public,” says the mayor and three First Nations chiefs

Calling the National Energy Board’s hearings on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion “flawed and biased,” Mayor Gregor Robertson urged Justin Trudeau on Tuesday to reject the controversial project.

In an open letter also signed by Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation and Coun. Howard Grant of the Musqueam Nation, the mayor wrote that the expansion project is “not worth the net risk for Vancouver residents and the Canadian public from either an environmental or economic perspective.”

Noting that the expanded pipeline would increase the number of oil tankers in the local waterways from five to 34 per month, he wrote that an oil spill would impact Stanley Park, much of the seawall, beaches, marinas and other waterfront areas. “Our green, clean, sustainable brand, valued at $31 billion, could suffer up to $3 billion in damage, on top of risking hundreds of thousands of jobs dependent on our ocean-based and green economy.”

Robertson also criticized the NEB, which recommended that the federal cabinet approve the pipeline expansion after a series of hearings. The significant gaps in Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion application, according to the City of Vancouver, included: failure to consider human health impacts from an oil spill; lack of a full seismic risk assessment along the pipeline route; lack of comprehensive assessment of a “worst case” oil spill; and flawed methods to test and assess impacts of diluted bitumen in the event of an oil spill.

The mayor and the First Nations chiefs also held a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, speaking against the pipeline expansion project. The expanded line would approximately triple the amount of Alberta crude currently being pumped to the west coast in the existing pipeline.

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