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Trans Mountain Supporters Make Anti-Pipeline Protest Their Own

An anti-pipeline protest in Calgary involving a couple of dozen people quickly turned into a pro-pipeline rally yesterday when a much bigger group of Trans Mountain supporters took over the event and made it their own, the Calgary Herald reports.

The initial group of protesters demonstrated outside the office of federal Alberta MP Kent Hehr with calls to “stop the Kinder Morgan buyout”. Ottawa last month announced it would buy the Trans Mountain expansion project from Kinder Morgan and look for new investors to take up the project and make it happen. The protesters delivered a petition signed by 37,000 people to the MP’s office.

Later, however, the daily reports, a group three times as big as the protesters’ turned up bearing signs saying “Just Build It.” One member of the second group told the Calgary Herald pipeline supporters were “on the side of reality, of truth and common sense,” voicing concern, however, that now that the federal government has bought the project it might decide to simply let it “sit on the shelf”.

The federal buyout of the Trans Mountain expansion followed a deadline set by Kinder Morgan for Ottawa to provide it with guarantees that the project would move ahead despite strong opposition from the province of British Columbia.

This opposition sparked a trade war of sorts between B.C. and Alberta, featuring B.C. wine import bans, threats to turn the oil taps off completely, and responding threats by B.C. to take its neighbor to court over the whole Trans Mountain affair.

Related: U.S. Asks OPEC To Boost Oil Production By 1 Million Bpd

The B.C. government’s position on the pipeline expansion project focuses on the risks of a spill or a leak. Alberta, for its part, has countered with the fact that a pipeline is a much safer way of transporting diluted bitumen than railway, which producers now have to use to move their oil.

For Alberta, the expansion is urgently needed as oil sands operators ramp up production and need new markets for it. The combination of pipeline capacity shortage and higher production has pressured Canadian benchmark crude to historic discounts to WTI.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Ann Jarrell on June 05 2018 said:
    I live in a 5000+ person residential community, adjacent B.C.'s second largest community. We have an elementary school and several childcare facilities. There are two access roads/our evacuation routes. A significant portion of both roads parallel Kinder Morgan's Burnaby Tank Farm. 12 of the 14 new oil tanks are closer to the access roads. The nearest tank will be 60m from one road, 100m from the other road, 150m from the intersection where they meet, 700m from the university campus.

    Approximately, 23,000 people are on the mountain during the fall/spring semesters. Fewer students are on campus in the summer, but about 1200 children attend day camps. The Burnaby Fire Dept says a fire or other accident at the Tank Farm could close these access roads for 2-4 days. People would have a few minutes to find a safe place to shelter for the 2-4 days. No paramedics or fire personnel could reach us during this period. The Fire Dept says the risk to the areas outside the Tank Farm increase by 70%, This does not meet Canada's Risk Standards.

    The Canadian government's Kinder Morgan Burnaby Tank Farm is not safe now and should not be expanded by the Canadian government or anyone else.

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