Energy Campaigns

Pipeline Impacts

Oil and gas pipelines can have detrimental impacts to fish. During the constrcution and installation of pipelines, fish habitat can be affected by soil washout from machinery and cause sedimentation into fish-bearing rivers and streams. The sedimentation into waterways can disrupt the normal behaviour of fish; negatively altering the feeding, mating, and growth of fish. Excess sediments can infill spawning gravel beds which can smother and kill rearing eggs. 

Pipeline spills and leaks can pollute waterways exposing fish to toxic chemicals that can kill on impact or cause disease over the long-term. Spills of petrochemicals can also negatively impact the growth of other aquatic life destroying plant habitat and insect food sources.

Kinder Morgen Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

Kinder Morgan Canada is proposing a to build a new pipeline alongside its existing 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton and Burnaby. The $5.4-billion project would increase the capacity of the system to at least 890,000 barrels per day and greatly increase oil tanker traffic in southern Georgia Strait.

Key issues flagged by the City of Vancouver

  • The Trans Mountain expansion would increase pipeline capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to nearly 900,000
  • 7-fold increase in tanker traffic through the Burrard Inlet (more than one a day)
  • A major spill would be catastrophic to Vancouver’s environment, economy and international reputation
  • Vancouver already faces costs from climate change, this project would lead to more emissions

Key Issues Regarding NEB Process

Incompleteness of the application

  • Trans Mountain’s application is over 15,000 pages long, yet contains significant gaps
  • The NEB decided that the application was complete but Trans Mountain only includes high level screening assessment
  • Does not consider health impacts from a spill
  • Have not looked at health impacts from fires or explosions
  • Trans Mountain’s “credible worst case” spill scenarios
  • assume: calm, warm water; availability of all responders; long daylight hours; no complicating response factors
  • Assessment of probability of accident in English Bay is flawed
  • Analysis only considers risk of collision between anchored tanker in English Bay with Fraser River traffic
  • No plans or impact assessments provided for spills, fires, explosions impacting the City of Vancouver
  • Dilbit is highly volatile, toxic, non-conventional crude
  • Flawed methods used in Kinder Morgan tests to assess the fate and behaviour of dilbit:

Inadequate Scope of NEB Review

  • The NEB does not intend to consider upstream and downstream climate change impacts, but Trans Mountain’s economic justification includes the upstream benefits to Albertan oil sand producers.
  • Vancouver already faces real costs from climate change
  • This is a major energy infrastructure decision
  • If the NEB does not consider climate impacts – who will?

NEB Process

  • NEB ruled that there will be no oral cross examination – there has been no decision of this type without cross examination for 20 years
  • Only oral cross examination will be of Aboriginal groups providing traditional evidence
  • Intervenors have had 6 weeks from confirmation to analyze 15,000 page document and prepare questions
  • Time limits for oral statements by the 400 intervenor
  • No new evidence or questioning allowed
  • General public cannot even write a letter to the NEB
  • No public forum for expressing concerns
  • 468 individuals and groups who managed to fill in the online application form in time are also barred from participating
  • NEB have not even announced where the hearings will take place

Enbridge has proposed to build a 1170 km twin pipelines system from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C.

Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB; NYSE:ENB) is a Calgary, Alberta based pipeline company that operates the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system in North America.

Enbridge has proposed to build a 1170 km twin pipelines system form Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. One pipeline would export raw bitumen to U.S. and Asian markets and the other pipeline would import condensate, a solvent used to help thin the bitumen so it can flow. The proposal would see pipe laid across nearly a thousand fish bearing streams and rivers including the Fraser and Skeena River. 

Visit to learn more about this proposal and visit:

Pembina Report & Factsheet: Pipelines & Salmon in Northern British Columbia

Pembina Factsheet: How Oil & Gas Pipelines Impact Fish

Pembina Report & Factsheet: Oil & Salmon Don't Mix