Kinder Morgan is no longer looking at the Raft River Valley as a possible route for twinning its Trans Mountain pipeline.
“At one point, we were looking at the Raft River as a possible routing option,” said project director Greg Toth. “However, given the information we have today, the Raft River is no longer a viable option and we won’t be considering that route any further.”
Running a pipeline through the Raft Valley was one of the chief local concerns the company heard during a public information session held at the Wells Gray Inn on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
“That’s good to hear,” commented Tim Pennell, Thompson-Nicola Regional District director for Wells Gray Country (Area A). “I spoke against it when the company made a presentation to the regional district several months ago. It would have opened up a whole new area.
“Quite a few people were against it. Some described it as ‘pristine wilderness,’ which isn’t really true, because there has been logging and so on in there, but it is wilderness.”
The Raft River route apparently was being considered because of difficult terrain near Messiter Summit north of Avola.
Pennell said Kinder Morgan followed extremely high environmental standards when it twinned the pipeline through Jasper National Park a few years ago, and he expects the company will do the same here.
“I don’t see a negative impact from twinning in this area,” he said. “I expect we will see a lot of money and a lot of jobs in the Valley for a year.”
Kinder Morgan announced last April that it intended to twin its Trans Mountain pipeline. The company had earlier held an “open season” (a call for long-term binding contracts) to get commitments from its customers for the increased capacity.
In the North Thompson Valley, the project would involve construction of a 30-inch pipeline from north of Albreda to Darfield, and the reactivation of an existing second pipeline from Darfield to Black Pines. There would be a new pumping station at McMurphy (adjacent to the existing station), and two new pumping stations at Black Pines.
Kinder Morgan is presently continuing its engagement with the public, as well as undertaking routing studies, traditional knowledge studies, and environmental and sociological assessments.
The company intends to file a comprehensive Facilities Application with the National Energy Board in late 2013.
If approval is received, construction would begin in 2016. The expanded pipeline would start operating in 2017.