Tar Sands Oil Pipeline barreling through scenic B.C. park

Posted by admin on Apr 22nd, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 CBC News

Construction crews will soon be digging trenches and laying a major oil pipeline along the scenic route through Mount Robson Provincial Park, which covers 224,866 hectares through the B.C. portion of the Rocky Mountains. Once the project is complete, it will allow Kinder Morgan Canada, the company building the pipeline, to ship an extra 40,000 barrels of oil each day from Alberta to markets in the Lower Mainland, the U.S., and Asia. That will increase the capacity of the existing pipeline from 260,000 to 300,000 barrels per day.

The expansion was pre-approved more than 50 years ago, according to Wayne Van Velzen, the parks supervisor at Mount Robson. “A park that is associated with wilderness … to have an industrial project of this magnitude going through both parks … if it wasn’t something ordered in 1952, there would probably be some pretty serious opposition,” said Van Velzen.

Kinder Morgan is spending $443 million dollars on the Anchor Loop project, running 159 km over the rugged terrain through the Rockies, is one phase of its expansion of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system. The development expands an existing historic pipeline that already runs through the parks.

Ninety-six percent of the pipeline expansion is adjacent to the highway, the rail line, or the existing pipeline.

Pipeline construction through Jasper National Park is almost complete, while trenching and brush clearing in Mount Robson Provincial Park has just begun. Intensive construction will begin in Mount Robson Provincial Park in May, 2008, and is expected to be completed by November.

Both Robson and Jasper Parks are part of the Rocky Mountain World Heritage Site.

Tourist season will be affected as the area is turned into a temporary construction zone. The project will bring hundreds of temporary workers into the Robson Valley into towns like Valemount, B.C., for the summer. Construction may slow traffic on the scenic Yellowhead Highway through the Rockies, and will affect the Lucerne campground.

“It’s kinda difficult right now to see the amount of equipment and the trenching going on and the general levels of disturbance,” said Van Velzen.

“I’m extremely confident that it’s going to look a lot better here when they finish … than when they started,” he said.

Roy Howard, an environmentalist who lives near Mount Robson, said the pipeline itself is the least of his concerns.

“Oil is probably going to move along that corridor whether it goes by truck, train or pipeline. Pipeline may actually be more secure,” said Howard.

“The bigger issue is whether we should be exporting all this oil or digging it up out of the ground.”

Van Velzen said although he has concerns about the construction, he
believes Kinder Morgan’s work is hitting the highest standard ever in pipeline construction in Canada.

  • SPP/Tar Sands
  • Comments Off on Tar Sands Oil Pipeline barreling through scenic B.C. park

Comments are closed.