NEB rejection means Vancouver should hold public meetings on Kinder Morgan, says Mayor

Mayor Gregor Robertson says that with last week’s decision by the National Energy Board (NEB) to reject a request for oral public hearings and cross examination on Kinder Morgan's proposed pipeline expansion, Vancouver should hold its own meetings to give residents an opportunity to express their concerns.

"The National Energy Board continues to restrict and reduce public input on Kinder Morgan's proposal for a seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic through Vancouver's local waters, which is undermining public trust in the process," said the Mayor. "The approval process for Kinder Morgan has even fewer opportunities for public input than Northern Gateway.

"We've heard loud and clear from the residents of Vancouver that they have major concerns about this proposal. If the NEB won't allow residents to express those concerns, then the City should provide opportunities for the public to let their voices be heard on this important issue."

At yesterday’s Vancouver City Council meeting, a City staff update identified new gaps in Kinder Morgan’s proposal, including a “worst case” oil spill scenario that assumes calm, warm water and long daylight hours. The 15,000 page proposal also fails to include plans or impact assessments for fires, spills or explosions impacting the City of Vancouver.

On May 7th, the NEB rejected a motion from Robyn Allan seeking the opportunity for oral public hearings and cross examinations, as was the case for Northern Gateway. This motion was supported by the City of Vancouver, but rejected by the NEB.

The Mayor will introduce a motion today directing staff to establish a series of public events where residents can share their opinion on the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal. It will include an invitation for people and groups turned down for the NEB hearings, as well as to Kinder Morgan, to participate in the events.

Mayor Robertson also says that he does not support a proposal to have a referendum on Kinder Morgan's proposed pipeline expansion with the next civic election. A motion from Councillor Carr calling for such a referendum will be voted on at today’s Council meeting.

"I do not support a referendum on the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal in the next civic election, as there would be no spending limits, no donation limits, and no disclosure requirements for people or groups involved in it," said the Mayor. "We've already seen industry groups spending large amounts of money to sway public opinion on pipeline projects. With absolutely no financing rules to guide it, tying that in to the civic election is a dangerous proposition."

"If a referendum were to happen, it should be after the NEB process is complete, as was the case in Kitimat. It should also be governed by federal election laws: a ban on union and corporate donations, spending limits, and disclosure requirements for individuals and third parties; and open to any affected BC municipality that wishes to participate."

Click here for the full City of Vancouver staff presentation from Tuesday May 13, 2014: