There can be “economic benefits” from oil spills — Kinder Morgan

There can be “economic benefits” from oil spills — Kinder Morgan

Westridge Marine Terminal, Burnaby, BC | Creative Commons image by D70

Kinder Morgan’s (NYSE:KMI) assertion that oil spills could bring economic benefits is triggering heated reactions.

The company’s statement, part of its $5.4 billion proposal to the federal government submitted Tuesday, also acknowledges a spill could have negative consequences for the environment and nearby communities. However, in the 15,000-page document, the company insists that a risk assessment and 60-year history operating the existing pipeline has shown “the probability of a large pipeline spill is low.”

Sierra Club campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon, said in a statement that Kinder’s view on oil spill is “an outrageous insult” to British Columbians.

"While marketing professionals might find lucrative work trying to rebrand an oil-drenched B.C. coast, a spill would put at risk more than 200,000 jobs in the lower mainland that depend on our clean, beautiful environment."

There can be “economic benefits” from oil spills — Kinder MorganShe added that with such a statement, Kinder Morgan has acknowledged that oil spills happen.

But Kinder Morgan senior director of marine development Michael Davies told 24Hours the comments were part of a requirement for the application.

“No spill is acceptable to us and while we are required by the National Energy Board to explore both the positive and negative socio-economic effects of a spill, it in no way means we accept the inevitability of a spill, nor justify one,” he was quoted as saying.

If approved, the expansion project will nearly triple the capacity of the 1,147 km Trans Mountain pipeline from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. To accommodate the increased oil, Kinder Morgan is proposing to build a new pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta, to the Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, B.C., create new and modified facilities and add three berths at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. The pipeline carries a variety of hydrocarbon products including diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands.

Excerpts from the company’s application to the National Energy Board for expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline were published Wednesday by Press Progress.