Letter: Train riskier than pipeline for oil

 

Dear Editor,

People who are adamantly protesting the Northern Gateway pipeline’s tentative approval seem to forget one very important thing. Both the Canadian National and the Canadian Pacific Railways are ready to use “unit trains,” similar to the coal trains that rumble along to the Roberts Bank super port, but instead of coal, the trains will be bringing the Alberta tar sands – bitumen crude – to Kitimat or to Westridge Terminals in Burnaby.

Everyone recognizes the potential negative consequences of an ocean spill, but could we imagine the catastrophic results of one 70,000 litre rail car, or 100 of those rail cars all at once derailing along the Skeena River or the Fraser River – a scenario with undoubtedly severe immediate consequence. 

The use of trains instead of a pipeline brings a greater chance of a disaster equal to any ocean oil spill.  

Our group can say this with some degree of knowledge, because we live with an oil pipeline on our land and many of us have for a very long time, that the pipeline is a far safer mode of transportation, compared to rail. 

One only needs to look at last year’s Lac Megantic derailment disaster as an example of devastation shipping oil by rail.

We are part of the Collaborative Group of Landowners Affected by Pipelines (CGLAP). 

Instead of attempting to halt the construction of pipeline expansion, we are holding Trans Mountain and its parent Kinder Morgan to the highest standard of construction ever seen in Canada. 

CGLAP will ensure that this new pipeline will meet and exceed standards, we as farmers and landowners here in Canada’s breadbasket have set out with the NEB what must be met prior to construction. 

CGLAP will also ensure accountability to build the new pipeline with the object of responsibility not only to CGLAP members, but every resident of the Fraser Valley.  

There are approximately 2,200 landowners along the 1,150-kilometre pipeline route between Edmonton and Vancouver. 

The 60 members of CGLAP are directly affected people. Many have lived with the pipeline for a long time. The old 24-inch line has brought millions of barrels of oil from Alberta to the West Coast, with very little drama over its 62 years.

As directly affected landowners, we do not look upon Kinder Morgan as adversaries, even though the Trans Mountain pipeline has been and is continuing to be a burden to us. CGLAP holds out the theory that if a business rents or leases a warehouse to store or facilitate the movement of goods, the expediter would need to pay that warehouse owner rent for the use of the facilities. Therefore, in CGLAP’s opinion, Kinder Morgan needs to pay rent to the 2,200 warehouses along the pipeline to get their product to market.

CGLAP’s end objective going forward is to make sure every directly affected CGLAP member is treated fairly, and Kinder Morgan shows respect to each of us during and after the construction phase of the new, larger pipe. 

At the end of the project, we hope to be valued business partners with Kinder Morgan, and not just a faceless thoroughfare. 

Brian Kingman, CGLAP

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