Kinder Morgan practices ‘worst case’ spill response at Burnaby terminal[/size]
National Energy Board evaluators were keeping a watchful eye over Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal, where crews trained for a potential oil spill on the Trans Mountain pipeline.
More than 20 agencies and organizations were part of a full-scale oil spill response exercise – the biggest of its kind – at Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby Thursday.
The terminal will serve as the end-point for the proposed $5-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, so National Energy Board (NEB) evaluators watched with keen interest to see how crews handled what Kinder Morgan called “a credible worst case scenario” involving 160 cubic metres of oil leaking from a failed loading arm.
Multiple booms were deployed around the port while crews on land and in the water hustled to clean up the imaginary spill.
Kinder Morgan containment crews were assisted by eight of the 12 vessels the industry-funded Western Canada Marine Response Corporation stations in the Burrard Inlet, as well as responders from NEB, Transport Canada, the coast guard, and provincial and municipal governments.
“We’re looking to make sure that the company can manage the incident as if it were really happening,” said NEB spokesperson Darin Barter. “That’s why it’s really important to see that they have the full deployment here. We want to see that every eventuality is taken into account, that all the technical and environmental aspects of this exercise are accounted for and dealt with.”
While Kinder Morgan conducts about 20 spill exercises a year along its existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton, Alta., this is the largest.
Given the intense scrutiny surrounding the company’s planned expansion – which would increase the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day from 300,000 and boost tanker traffic from 32 per year to 408 – Barter said the NEB plans to release its review of the exercise publicly by Dec. 29.
He said the national regulator is able to take post-exercise enforcement action if observers spot serious flaws during the drill.
“We want to make sure the company responds quickly, appropriately and fully,” Barter said. “If we don’t have confidence a company will capably manage this then we have the ability, the legislated ability, to shut it down and take over.”
The scope of “worst case scenario” at Westridge Marine Terminal has been a topic of debate at the NEB’s hearings into the proposed expansion.
The City of Vancouver estimates a worst case spill would expose a million people to toxic fumes, kill 100,000 sea- and shorebirds and cause $1.2 billion in economic losses, much higher than Kinder Morgan’s own modeling.
“For us, we’re exercising for a credible scenario under our emergency plans,” said Michael Davies, senior director of marine development at Trans Mountain. “Not to say a larger spill [more than 160 cubic metres] couldn’t happen, but a larger spill starts to become so unlikely as to become impractical for regular practice.”
Intervenors at the NEB hearings have criticized Kinder Morgan for not fully releasing its emergency response plan to the public.
Davies said parts of the plan had to be redacted to protect people’s privacy and because other sections contain “details about our facilities that we wouldn’t normally publish” (such as valve locations and detailed pictures of parts along the pipeline system).
However, he claims all public agencies involved in Thursday’s drill have full access to the plan and believes Kinder Morgan has fulfilled its obligation to the NEB.
“In my view, if you look at those plans [with redactions] you can get a very good sense of how our programme works and how our response plans work,” said Davies. “The bulk of it is there.”
The NEB’s hearings into the proposed pipeline project are set to resume in December and it is expected to make a recommendation to cabinet in May.
If approved, Davies said construction on the Trans Mountain expansion could started in late 2016.
(October 30, 2015, Metro News)
If Metro was to be refreshingly honest regarding its heavily lopsided coverage, they’d openly admit to running press releases from huge-oil-interest corporate entities like Kinder Morgan (note the most-well-read-weekend-edition full-page-three story sampled above)—as well as those from some other big-bucks and/or political interests—essentially as they are received, notwithstanding some pigeonholing of text or a clarification here or there. Metro needs to acknowledge that they’ve created or are in the process of creating an alternate journalistic practice that does not reflect true democratic principles and ethics—a journalistic standard of zero opposition comment or rebuttal when it comes to big oil and mineral extraction corporate interests. Running such ‘news stories’ with no input from any informative opposing viewpoints is not only frustrating for the consumer, but also potentially scary; after all, it’s the very nature of a PR release to have absent from it the published information that’s against the interests of its government or corporate writers and distributers? Opposing views and thus political pressure are one of the most important pillar posts of a democracy. To generally summarize profound linguist professor and media critic Noam Chomsky: the news-media are to a democracy what the baton is to a tyranny. Therefore, it’s just as important to publicly identify primary news-media ownership which has significant vested interests in the election and re-election of specific political parties and their campaigning-for-office representatives.
Furthermore, there no longer are the till-now-typical means for a reader to communicate with Canada’s freebee metro-daily newspapers. For one, Metro applies a complete look-only-but-don’t-touch policy: all of its e-mail addresses have been removed from its newspaper and website. Oh, pardon me; they actually do supply one email address—Metro’s advertising agent department.
But perhaps most bothersome is Metro’s failed attempt at a façade of true liberalism; the contradiction of genuine liberalism—note, not libertarianism—on its part being through Metro’s run-big-corporate-media-releases-as-are practice.
Where Metro does try to portray itself as ‘liberal media’ is with its uncompromising Good Ol’ Girls Club readership content. Most notable is that its entire opinion page, ‘Views’, is solely allocated to female writers, unless there are no such written pieces readily available. But to be fair, Metro does employ fulltime a homosexual male entertainment writer/editor—albeit one who’s seemingly obsessed with running pics of Justin Bieber’s bare butt from various social media outlets.
But then again, one may say that the said openly-gay editor makes up for the bare-Bieber-butt zero-blackout with a strangely excessive blackout of Kim Kardashian’s bare behind with the black-block-box extending far beyond both the horizontal and vertical blatant censorship: i.e. the blockage extends far beyond the outermost edges of her butt cheeks, and vertically from her mid-back down to her lower thighs. One can safely presume that if he’s not at all interested in Kim’s pre-pregnancy pleasant curvature, neither will her almost exclusively straight female readership. All of which may bring one back to the Good Ol’ Girls Club readership content …
Frank Sterle Jr
Last edited by FrankGSterleJr on Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.