British Columbia city challenges oil pipeline: What about fire or leak?



Burnaby, B.C., is standing up to Big Oil.

The Vancouver suburb wants to know where a proposed oil pipeline is going to go, especially if Burnaby fire crews are expected to handle a leak, rupture or conflagration.

The vast Alberta oil stands project, along with oil development in North Dakota, is outstripping the capacity of North America's pipelines.  Hence, oil is increasingly being moved by rail.  A disaster in Quebec raises questions for the Northwest. (Getty Images)

The big, Houston-based Kinder Morgan pipeline company wants to double the capacity of its existing Trans-Mountain Pipeline. The pipeline transports crude oil from Alberta beneath the city of Burnaby (population 202,000) to a refinery on the shores of Burrard Inlet.

The pipeline expansion appears greased — Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to turn Canada into an oil-exporting power — but Burnaby is unwilling to lie down before the carbon economy.  Its city attorney, Greg McDade, asked in a letter to Canada’s National Energy Board:

“What would happen in the event of a fire?  What would happen in the event of a leak? There seems to be a suggestion that the city of Burnaby and its fire department can take care of all those things.”

Tough questions from Burnaby deserve attention south of the border.  Expansion of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline has one major purpose — export of oil by tanker through international waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands out the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Destination: Asia.

If the Trans-Mountain expansion is approved, oil tanker traffic out of Burnaby would increase from five to an estimated 34 ships each month.


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Common Sense Canadian

CNRL pipeline leaks 70,000 litres near Slave Lake

Posted April 2, 2014 by Canadian Press in Energy and Resources

CNRL pipeline leaks 70,000 litres near Slave Lake

SLAVE LAKE, Alta. – A pipeline owned by Canadian Natural Resources Limited has spilled 70,000 litres of oil and processed water northwest of Slave Lake, Alta.

The Alberta Energy Regulator says the breach happened on Monday and was reported by CNRL (TSX:CNQ) the same day.

The regulator says the spill is not an emergency, the oil is not near any people, water or wildlife, and a cleanup is underway.


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