Local residents divided over pipeline project

Survey shows 55 per cent support doubling the Trans Mountain pipeline and 45 oppose the proposal

Many residents of the North Thompson Valley participated in a telephone survey conducted last week by Kennedy Stewart, MP for Burnaby-Douglas.

The survey asked people’s opinions about Kinder Morgan’s plans to twin its Trans Mountain pipeline.

Stewart, who is the NDP associate critic for natural resources, released the survey results on Monday.

They show that 55 per cent of those residents who expressed an opinion support the pipeline-twinning project while 45 per cent oppose it.

The survey was conducted between Feb. 21 and 23 and involved contacting nearly 30,000 Kamloops area households. Over 4,000 households provided a response.

“These results show Kinder Morgan will have a lot of work to do before they build a new 300,000 barrel per day oil pipeline though the North Thompson Valley and beneath the Thompson River,” said Stewart. “What is most disappointing is that the Conservative government has already decided to unconditionally support this new pipeline before the proposal is even submitted for review to the National Energy Board. We find this rash response unacceptable. The NDP will continue to provide balanced information to affected residents and meaningfully consult them as this expansion proposal pushes ahead.”

The Kamloops survey is part of the continuing efforts by the NDP to consult widely with British Columbians on the new Trans Mountain oil pipeline. An identical phone survey of almost 40,000 residents in Stewart’s riding of Burnaby-Douglas, through which the new pipeline is also planned to pass, showed that 72 per cent of those with an opinion opposed the expansion. A province-wide phone opinion poll conducted by the Mustel group showed 60 per cent of British Columbians with an opinion oppose the new pipeline.

Kinder Morgan recently ended a notice of open season – which started October 20, 2011 and ended February 16, 2012 – that secured binding 15- and 20-year transportation agreements with domestic and foreign oil refining companies.

The oil pipeline company received a sufficient amount of commercial interest during its open season, meaning that it will prove forward in its plans to fully twin the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline began in February, 1952, and its first shipment of crude oil arrived in Burnaby in October, 1953.

Trans Mountain has been owned and operated by Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. since 2005. This pipeline is 1156 km long, traveling from Edmonton to Greater Vancouver and the Puget Sound.

The present pipeline had a capacity of about 300,000 barrels per day. Doubling it would bring that capacity up to 600,000 barrels per day or more.