NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Salish Sea threatened by Canada’s buyout of Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline

On May 29th, the Cana­di­an fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in Ottawa announced plans to take over the strug­gling Trans-Moun­tain Pipeline Expan­sion (TMX) project.

The orig­i­nal Trans-Moun­tain Pipeline Sys­tem (TMPL) was built in 1953 and remains the only major sys­tem in North Amer­i­can pip­ing crude oil to the West Coast.

The TMX Project, first pro­posed by Texas-based Kinder-Mor­gan in 2013, was approved by the Gov­ern­ment of Cana­da in 2016 despite a lack of sup­port from the Provin­cial Gov­ern­ment of British Columbia.

The TMX is a major step back­ward in efforts to fight cli­mate change and main­tain a healthy marine ecosys­tem. It would effec­tive­ly triple the amount of oil leav­ing British Colum­bia for Puget Sound and the Pacif­ic Ocean, from 300,000 to 890,000 bar­rels of oil per day, sub­stan­tial­ly increas­ing the risk of a cat­a­stroph­ic spill and adding more dirty fos­sil fuel to the world market.

To make mat­ters worse, the TMX is slat­ed to car­ry dilut­ed bitu­men, one of the dirt­i­est forms of oil. A spill in the Sal­ish Sea would be extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to clean up and could cause irrepara­ble dam­age to the region’s orca pop­u­la­tion, along with oth­er aspects of our marine ecosystem.

As Wash­ing­ton State Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee put it: “This project runs counter to every­thing our state is doing to fight cli­mate change, pro­tect our endan­gered south­ern res­i­dent killer whales and pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties from the risks asso­ci­at­ed with increased fos­sil-fuel trans­porta­tion — by rail and by sea.”

Inslee’s oppo­si­tion has drawn the atten­tion of the Cana­di­an media.

The project has been delayed many times and there was hope, ear­li­er this year, that it might have been per­ma­nent­ly thwart­ed when Kinder-Mor­gan sus­pend­ed the bulk of its efforts to move ahead with devel­op­ment back in April.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, six weeks lat­er, the Gov­ern­ment of Cana­da announced an agree­ment to bail out Kinder-Mor­gan by pur­chas­ing the TMPL and TMX with the intent to resell it by the end of the sum­mer so that work can resume. Details of that plan include a ver­i­ta­ble guar­an­teed that con­struc­tion will restart in 2018.

This sto­ry broke few­er than six weeks ago and, already, it has dis­ap­peared from the news cycle. This is under­stand­able, giv­en the con­stant flood of break­ing news in recent months. But we can­not afford to neglect the defense of our envi­ron­ment or aban­don our com­mit­ments to a clean­er ener­gy future.

If you want to learn more about the TMX and the envi­ron­men­tal risks of pump­ing and ship­ping more crude oil through North­west wilder­ness and com­mu­ni­ties, the Tsleil-Wau­tuth Nation has put togeth­er a bril­liant, com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment. You can read an overview and down­load a copy of their assess­ment from their website.

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One Comment

  1. The tox­ic, tar sands have to be refined/upgraded into syn­thet­ic crude oil on the tar sands regions, before trans­port­ing, to pre­vent anoth­er Kala­ma­zoo Riv­er dis­as­ter from hap­pen­ing any­where. The tar sands con­tain ben­zene, toluene, eth­yl ben­zene and hydro­gen sulphide.

    # by Earl Richards :: July 10th, 2018 at 7:50 AM
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