It's Not Worth The Risk.

Watch or read the Mayor's urgent message

Copyright City of Vancouver 2016, All Rights Reserved.

Seven Times the Tankers in Our Waters

If the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is approved, the number of oil tankers in Vancouver's harbour will rise from 5 to 34 every month.  Vancouver's harbour is already difficult to navigate as it is narrow – adding seven times the tankers will only increase the likelihood of a catastrophic oil spill that will devastate the unique environment upon which our people and economy depend.

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The Kinder Morgan Pipeline is the wrong approach and puts our region's environment and economy at risk.

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The Nightmare Just Got Worse

The 2015 fuel spill in English Bay, estimated by Environment Canada to be 2,700 litres, impacted our waters, coast, and wildlife and required a co-ordinated response from all three levels of government.   Kinder Morgan estimates that a credible worst-case spill scenario along the tanker route and outside Burrard Inlet is 16.5 million litres of oil.  That's more than 6,000 times the fuel spilled into English Bay and enough to devastate our waters, our marine wildlife, our shorelines and our economy for years to come.

A History of Oil Spills

The Trans Mountain Pipeline has a history of oil spills. In fact, there have been a total of 81 oil spills reported since 1961. Below is a map showing four major spills from the pipeline since 2005. Kinder Morgan is not proposing to replace this pipeline, instead it wants to build a bigger pipeline near this one. Another spill could be devastating, particularly one at any of the over 80 river crossings the pipeline makes in the Lower Fraser watershed.

Oil and Tidal Waters Don't Mix

The complex tidal system and winds of the Burrard Inlet mean that if a spill were to happen in this area, it may not be confined to the point of spill.  Instead, oil could spread all through the region, impacting multiple municipalities and the most vital areas of our coast.  The animation below models the 72 hour spread of a 16.5 million litre spill within Burrard Inlet. Each dot in the animation represents approximately 2,000 litres of oil.

Carbon Pollution We Can’t Afford

The pipeline expansion will allow for a total of 890,000 barrels of oil to reach BC’s coast each day. When used, this would release 56 times more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each day than what’s emitted now by current daily activities in Vancouver, impacting ongoing efforts to prevent further climate change.

About the information on this page

This page contains information, estimates, and calcuations provided by third parties. These are taken from the evidence-based reports prepared by independent subject-matter experts and can be found by visiting Vancouver.ca/NEBevidence

*Map was originally produced by CREDBC.CA.

Impact on Marine Wildlife

The Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River estuary are some of the most ecologically important coastal marine habitats along the entire Pacific coast of North America. More than a million sea and shorebirds seasonally inhabit the area and the Fraser River is the largest single salmon-producing river on the Pacific Coast of North America and they are a vital food source for the endangered orcas in the area.

The environmental destruction from an oil spill cannot be understated.  Marine life will be severely impacted in a short period, and ecosystems will be forever changed.

A major oil spill from a tanker near the Fraser River estuary, or from the Trans Mountain Pipeline, that makes over 80 water-crossings along the Fraser River, could:

  • Kill more than 100,000 sea and shorebirds directly and indirectly through their fish food sources.
     
  • Cause substantial numbers of marine mammals, especially Harbour seals and Harbour porpoises to perish.
     
  • Jeopardize the viability of the endangered southern resident killer whale (orca whale) population, elevating their risk of extinction.
I am profoundly disappointed with today’s decision. Vancouver’s work with the federal government on transit, housing, welcoming refugees and other shared priorities has been overwhelmingly positive, but approving Kinder Morgan’s heavy oil pipeline expansion is a big step backwards for Canada’s environment and economy. This project was approved under a flawed and biased Harper-era regulatory process that shut out local voices and ignored climate change and First Nations concerns.
 
The Federal Government’s decision on Kinder Morgan is a missed opportunity for Canada, as there's never been a better time to aggressively shift to a clean energy future. Vancouver’s economy is the strongest and greenest in Canada and our marine-based industries play a big role in our success. Vancouver’s economy created 94,000 new jobs last year and significant tax revenue for Canada - it doesn’t make sense to jeopardize that success with the risk that comes with an expanded Kinder Morgan heavy oil pipeline and more tankers. As I’ve said repeatedly, it is not worth the risk.
 
Vancouver will continue to raise concerns about Kinder Morgan’s massive expansion that could bring seven times the number of oil tankers to our waters. I – along with the tens of thousands of residents, local First Nations, and other Metro Vancouver cities who told the federal government a resounding ‘no’ to this project – will keep speaking out against this pipeline expansion that doesn’t make sense for our economic or environmental future.
 
Gregor Robertson
Mayor of Vancouver   
 
 MAYOR'S MESSAGE