New consultations begin for Trans Mountain pipeline

National Energy Board to decide fate of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project

Kinder Morgan’s proposed route for its pipeline expansion through Kamloops. (Kinder Morgan)

The National Energy Board has begun new consultations which will decide the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The project was put on hiatus after a ruling from the Federal Court of Appeal on the plan approved by the Trudeau government. The three judges involved in the appeal all agreed that the studies conducted by the National Energy Board were so flawed that the government could not use them as reliable research.

The federal government has given the National Energy Board until February to release new stipulations involving Indigenous outreach and the potential ecological impact of the expansion.

In response to the quashing of the pipeline, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley pulled out of the federal climate plan until the expansion is approved. Notley has previously been an outspoken critic of the process the pipeline has undergone. She even went as far as calling for a province-wide boycott on the import of British Columbian wine. Alberta buys approximately $70-million worth of wine from wineries based in British Columbia. 

Trans Mountain was purchased by the Liberal government for $4.5-billion near the end of May after Kinder Morgan pressured the government to reach a final decision. This new review will result in the pipeline being operational in 2022, if approved, two years later than previous estimates.

Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada made polarizing statements last week about what his party would do if they were in power. His platform would include using constitutional leverage in order to approve the expansion.

However, the Darfield pump station is a proof-positive case study that there are valid environmental concerns that need to be readdressed by the National Energy Board.

Two days prior to the Canadian government purchasing the pipeline, there was an oil spill at the Darfield pump station. The pump station is located 20 km North of Kamloops, situated next to the North Thompson River and South of Chu Chua Cottonwood Provincial Park.

The spill was reported to be about 100 litres of medium crude oil that was released from the pump station due to a leak. On further review, it was determined that the actual amount was closer to 4,800 litres total.

In addition to the Darfield pump station, there is a terminal located within Kamloops city limits that is used for storing crude oil as well as local distribution. The terminal is located South-East of Thompson Rivers University, close to Kenna Cartwright Park. If the expansion project is approved it will result in four new storage tanks at the Kamloops terminal.

The Omega reached out to the Trans Mountain media spokesperson, who was unable to comment on the Darfield pump station and the future of the Kamloops terminal.

UPDATE: The sentence (Additionally, Scheer also brought forward the proposal of banning foreign funding to interest groups that are opposed to the pipeline. One such case is Tides Canada who has received money from special interest groups in the United States.) was removed as Tides Canada does not accept money from special interest groups and has not been singled out by Scheer.