Activists raise concerns about Trans Mountain pipeline 'construction hot spots'
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019 11:57AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 11, 2019 6:58PM PDT
Environmental activists hoping to stop the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline project are raising concerns about what they’re calling "dangerous construction hot spots."
In a report titled "Trans Mountain Pipeline: The truth about construction," the group Stand.earth highlighted seven aspects of the planned route it says pose potential risks. The areas cited include Burnaby Mountain, where Stand.earth said tunnelling is planned to connect the Westridge Marine Terminal to the Burnaby tank farm, both of which are also set to be expanded. According to the report, "geologists have not ruled out the possibility of active fault lines on the mountain."
The group’s report also singles out a section of the Fraser River east of the Port Mann Bridge, saying a planned crossing there could pose a risk of contamination in the case of a rupture.
The report also raises concerns about the possibility of tanker collisions, fire and spills in connection with expansion plans at the Burnaby and Abbotsford tank farms, and the tanker terminal.
"We were shocked when we went through the thousands of documents that have been buried on the NEB (National Energy Board) website, to find that the company plans to drill right under the Fraser River, right into Burnaby Mountain," said Tzeporah Berman with Stand.earth.
“The fact is that this is a project that is unsafe.”
Sven Biggs with the group said while there are ways to improve the project, there is no way to eliminate some of the risks it poses.
"Given the weak economics, it is probably a project that should be abandoned at this point."
Trans Mountain said no one was available for an interview, but in an emailed statement said: “After seven years of consultation, design, studies and planning, we are confident we have considered, addressed and effectively mitigated the concerns and risks raised in this report.”
In the statement, Trans Mountain said it understands there will be varying opinions about their plans, and added: ”The re-start of construction on the Expansion Project demonstrates that Canada can have a healthy, rigorous discussion about issues and also ensure a Project that has followed every process and obtained the necessary approvals gets built.”
Trans Mountain said the project is in the construction phase, but along with environmental concerns, they are still facing legal challenges. Last week, the federal court of appeal ruled arguments from six parties challenging the pipeline’s approval will proceed.