The PIPE UP Network is made up of residents of Southwestern BC who have come together because of our concerns about the safety, environmental, and financial implications, of shipping tar sands along Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, AB to Vancouver, BC.
Members of the network are dedicated to educating themselves and their communities about the existing pipeline, plans for expansion, and alternatives to tar sands; showing that we have the power to make the needed changes.
The problem with tar sands shipments: High risk, high costs, environmental devastation
Our research has led us to conclude that tar sands shipments represent an unacceptable risk to local residents along the pipeline route and net financial costs to all Canadians. Shipping raw tar sands bitumen to Pacific Rim markets is, in essence, exporting jobs. While losing thousands of jobs, net gain in employment in BC as a result of expansion of the pipeline, after construction, would be tens of jobs. However, that is not all: As Economist Robyn Allan’s analysis has shown, selling raw tar sands in foreign markets, while increasing Canada’s carbon footprint, will also increase the price of petroleum for Canadians. Although the PIPE UP Network believes that we need to end our dependency on fossil fuels, we support a just transition with investments in renewable energy sources that makes the shift affordable for all people.
The largest tar sand spill to date occurred in Marshall, Michigan on July 23, 2010. Toxic gasses escaped into the atmosphere and the heavy bitumen sank to the bottom of the Kalamazoo River causing authorities to close a 35-mile portion of the river. The total cost of the clean-up is approximately $800 billion. The disaster depressed the local economy, fishing, tourism and real estate. Sixty percent of residents suffered health problems. In July, 2012, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board report found that the spill was the result of “pervasive organizational failures” by the pipeline operator, Enbridge. The NTSB also blamed the accident on “weak federal regulations” by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for the accident. This should give Canadians pause after recent weakening of regulatory and environmental legislation (Bill C-38) by the Harper government.
Given the track record of Kinder Morgan, we believe that their pipeline may be another Kalamazoo waiting to happen.