Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision-led Vancouver City Council took
another bold step yesterday in their increasingly outspoken opposition
to Texas pipeline giant Kinder Morgan's plans to increase dramatically
oil tanker traffic through Vancouver's harbour.
The vote, which passed
with all but one in favour - NPA councillor George Affleck - is the
latest move by municipal leaders against Kinder Morgan since the company
formally announced the intention to twin its existing Trans Mountain
Pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to its Westridge Terminal in
The existing line carries 300,000 barrels of bitumen a day,
whereas the new line would add an additional 550,000 - slightly more
than the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline to Kitimat.
The result, as the motion filed by the mayor suggested, would be a
five-fold increase in oil tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet and South
Coast region from the 2010 level of 71 tankers.
The motion also noted,
"It is estimated that even larger tankers will be required to take the
increased volume of oil to foreign market, increasing the risk of a
large oil spill, and requiring extensive dredging of the Vancouver
Harbour and/or Fraser River."
Watch Ben West interview here (story continues below)
The motion called for the creation of a bylaw that "would require
pipeline operators and oil tankers using Burrard Inlet, Vancouver
Harbour and/or the Fraser River to indemnify the City of Vancouver and
existing local industries through appropriate liability insurance at a
level equal to the projected amount of clean up operation costs, and
loss of business compensation for a worst case scenario oil spill."
the interim, it also decreed that "the Mayor write to Prime Minister
Harper expressing the City of Vancouver's strenuous opposition to any
increase in oil tanker traffic, or measures that lead to increased oil
tanker traffic, as it poses an unacceptable and unmitigated risk to
Vancouver's economy and environment."
heard from Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation - on whose
traditional territory the pipeline terminus and tanker terminal are
located. The North Vancouver nation has come out in strong opposition to the project,
reiterating its position Wednesday at City Hall. Other interveners
included Ben West of the Wilderness Committee (see above video), Tarah
Stafford of Tanker Free BC and West Coast Environmental Law's Rachel