Editor, The Times:
The following is correspondence I’ve recently had with Dave Core, director of Federally Regulated Projects CAEPLA (Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations).
Little Fort, B.C.
I was looking for some advice with respect to the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We had our first visit from a land agent today (Oct. 22, 2012). He was really hoping to get us to sign the consent form for the environmental surveys. We recalled from an article in the CAEPLA Journal, to be wary of signing anything. We agreed to give the consent form a read, and get back to him later in the week.
As I see it, here are the pros and cons of agreeing to the twinning:
Pros: potential financial settlement for us
• Increased employment opportunity for locals, around the construction stages
• Employment opportunity and security for B.C. residents, on construction, maintenance, and at the refinery.
• Fuel production for B.C. residents
• Alleviate the possibility of future spills, due to the existing 60-year-old pipe
• Hassle of living with pipeline regs
• Minimal financial settlement for landowners
• Selling off of our valuable resource to foreign investors
• Environmental hazards of shipping crude from Vancouver
When I questioned the land agent on the amount of oil to be used at the Burnaby refinery and how much was to be shipped, he didn’t have these numbers. He insinuated that it was unpatriotic to not support this pipeline, because it supplied the refinery that produces our fuel.
I feel there is far less benefit for landowners with pipelines than landowners without, personally it feels like a huge sacrifice having a pipeline cross our property.
Any clarity you could give would be appreciated.
Kathy Karlstrom in Little Fort
Thank you for your email. It is a great email to post at the forum at http://pipelineobserver.ca/. This is a new website supported by CAEPLA. The more discussion and points of view posted, the more landowners will see things differently, from a perspective of their rights, within the pipeline debate. Land agents, the companies and the NEB are all artists at making things seem reasonable while in reality privileging pipeline companies to abuse private property.
At the Pipeline Observer forum, there is a question from a landowner named Tim. He wondered what he should do when a pipeline company knocks on your door. At the bottom of this email I have pasted Deb’s response to Tim at the Pipeline Observer forum for your information.
It is good that people see the benefits of a pipeline. However, it is not easy for the landowner who gets the pipe on their land. Pipeline companies, the federal government, provincial governments, municipal governments and your neighbors (the public) all profit from it, but they don’t share the risks that landowners bear. Of course, the land agent is the first financial beneficiary. He gets paid to waste your time to convince you to sign an agreement that is nothing but detrimental to you with annual risks, liabilities, costs and duty of care that belong to the private for profit companies. You should make sure you are paid for any time you spend with him. Your time is valuable.
Neither pipeline companies, nor the regulator believe in the free market or contract law. They use the tool of Right of Entry to take your land if you don’t sign their agreement. The NEB regulations can change and will supersede whatever you sign with the company and they usually change at the behest of pipeline companies. In 1990, the NEB passed regulations that restricted your farming over the pipeline and further put restrictions on your land. In the Omnibus Bill that was recently passed in June 2012 the pipeline companies convinced the government to secretly pass new NEB regulations stating that you can be fined $100,000 and five years in jail if you fail to ask the company permission to cross the pipeline. Is that patriotism?
The pipelines being built today have nothing to do with providing energy for Canadians, but are for exporting natural resources for profit for private companies and their shareholders. It has got nothing to do with “patriotism”, it is business. And when it comes to property and your safety you need a business agreement that protects you and does not leave you at risk. There is no reason why a private person should feel they should subsidize a pipeline company even though our government helps them steal our land.
Just remember, when you don’t buy into this talk, they will tell you that you have no choice because they and the government will expropriate you. This is where it becomes a real scandal. The NEB can provide the company with Right of Entry and an Easement across your land. This is a 50-year-old regulation that is not real expropriation. Under expropriation law you are to be made whole and title is also transferred which leaves you with no risk. On the other hand, Right of Entry is theft of the use of your land while leaving your name on title so that ultimately you will be responsible for the risks.
Please call if you need further info.