Managed Risk? Environmentalists challenge Kinder Morgan


Environmentalists challenge Kinder Morgan at Board of Change Event

“What’s at stake?. A $14-billion tourism economy which is rooted in our wild salmon, our Orca, our clean air and water that we market to the world under the brand as the ‘Greenest City’ in ‘The Greatest Place on Earth.” – Damien Gillis

On October 30th, Kinder Morgan executives and supporters, had their work cut out for them in a debate vs. local Environmentalists. A packed house of guests and media came to hear the exchange between Mike Davies: Director, Engineering and Marine Development, Kinder Morgan Canada, Frans Tjallingii, President SMIT Marine Canada, Captain Chris Badger, former CEO Port Metro Vancouver and Tzeporah Berman, Author & Environmentalist, Damien Gillis, The Common Sense Canadian and Karen Campbell, Lawyer, Ecojustice.

At stake is Kinder Morgan’s current proposal to twin the Trans Mountain Pipeline which runs from Alberta’s oil sands through Metro Vancouver to the Westbridge terminal in Burnaby. The result will be a dramatic increase in tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet.

While attendees expressed their appreciation to the advocates of Kinder Morgan / Trans-Mountain pipeline for showing up for a face to face discussion, they also offered strong concerns about the dangers surrounding the project and questioned its value on both environmental and economic levels, given the tremendous importance of the Lower Mainland’s shoreline and waters.


Much emphasis was placed on what the risks are, and how “manageable” they are. SMIT Marine Canada president, Frans Tjallngii, argued that “I think there’s always going to be a certain level of risk, but it’s about evaluating what that risk is and taking mitigating measures.”

Panelists questioned who benefits from these risks. Tzerporah Berman, environmentalist and writer, noted
“The pipeline will benefit big oil, it will benefit companies like Kinder Morgan. We’re being asked to bear incredible risks and told it’s in Canada’s interest”

Berman stressed that Transport Canada and the industry define success of cleanup of an oil spill as a staggering “between ten and fifteen per cent“, a number which was confirmed by Tiallngii.

The passionate discussion went 30 minutes into overtime, but the audience remained hungry for more information. The two sides did not agree on what an “acceptable risk” was, but the dialogue and ensuing passionate question and answer period did shed some light onto a topic that is often confused with misleading statistics and media lines.

Thank you to panelists and attendees for making our 2nd Tankers & Pipelines debate an engaging, thought-provoking, and productive exchange of ideas and values.

Special thanks to UBC Continuing Studies, Vancity, and Board of Change Directors and volunteers for helping making the event possible.

A full account of the debate can be read at the Vancouver Observer’s coverage of the debate.

Video of the event has been requested and will be posted as soon as possible.

More photos by Jennifer Strang Photography and
links to TV and radio coverage

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