The Illusion about our efforts to clean up oil spills

Andrew Nikiforuk has written an article in the Hakai magazine which supports one of our arguments in the work we did as intervenors in the National Energy Board Hearings on the Kinder Morgan/Trans Mountain Extension Pipeline project. This article profiles how we are being duped by oil companies and governments into believing that oil spills can be cleaned up and that oiled birds and mammals can be rehabilitated.

“And that’s where the state of marine oil spill response sits today: it creates little more than an illusion of a cleanup. Scientists — outside the oil industry — call it “prime-time theatre” or “response theatre.””

HakaiinstWhy Do We Pretend to Clean Up Ocean Oil Spills?

https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-long/oil-spill-cleanup-illusion

 

 

 

dilbitAlso see:

Oil Sands Dilbit Causes Developmental Problems in Fish

 

Information Requests from the Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves submitted to Kinder Morgan on Jan 15

On January 15, 2014, The Board of Friends of Ecological reserves submitted the round 2 set of Information Requests to Kinder Morgan /TMX project . Since it has some questions related to local sensitive marine ecological areas, It is posted here:

C33-4-1_-_Information_Request_No._2_-_A4G5Q9

Other posts on our concerns about the risk of oil spills on Metchosin’s Coastline may be found here:

50 other intervenors in the NEB hearings also submitted questions.. The link to these will be added here when the National Energy Board puts up a link.

 

 

 

How Trans Mountain Project Will Pump Profits to Its Texas Owners Charting the Houston-driven inner workings of Kinder Morgan.

While doing work as an Intervenor for the Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves in the National Energy Board hearings on the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline Expansion proposal , we have received notice throughout the past few months of the posting of many motions and questions to the Board from Intervenor Robyn Allan. The incredible amount of research she has done may be accessed on the NEB website:  https://docs.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/llisapi.dll/Open/2451015

By Robyn Allan, Monday, January 10– TheTyee.ca

U.S.-based Kinder Morgan says its Trans Mountain expansion project represents financial and economic benefit to the Canadian economy, and our federal and provincial public treasuries.
Who would spend a year investigating such claims, rooted as they are in complex tax law, regulations and corporate structure? I did.
What I found made me conclude the opposite — Kinder Morgan drains financial wealth from our economy and does not pay its fair share of taxes.
I have written about the project’s complicated design to yield meagre tax revenues for Canadians in a previous Tyee article.
Now let me examine just how Canadian Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. is. The answer: hardly at all.
Pop the hood and take a look at Kinder Morgan’s inner workings and the idea that this is a Canadian company operating for the good of Canadians is dispelled quicker than Kinder Morgan can say injunction.
If you are bored by arcane discussions of corporate structure and governance, that may be just what Kinder Morgan is hoping. Please bear with me. It’s critical we know who really runs, and benefits from, Kinder Morgan Canada Inc.  —From the boys who brought us Enron

continued at: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/01/12/Trans-Mountain-Texas-Profits/

CHART.KMStructure_page_thumb

Click to enlarge (some browsers may require a second click to further enlarge image). Kinder Morgan corporate chart prepared by Robyn Allan. Graphic design by Karl Jensen.

 

Economic Impacts of an Oil Spill

This  recent cover story by Lovel Pratt in the Whatcom Watch Onlinehttp://www.whatcomwatch.org/php/WW_open.php?id=1795 is well worth reading for Metchosin residents .
Examples it has stated:

  • “The consequences are huge: The Department of Ecology(Washington State)  estimates that a major oil spill in the state would cost 165,000 jobs and $10.8 billion in annual economic activity.
  • However, these figures are undervalued because, in addition to being two years outdated, this estimate does not include any costs associated with the impacts of oil spills to privately owned shoreline and water-view properties.”
  • “Property owners may be required to evacuate if faced with fire danger and/or air pollution from emissions of benzene and other volatile organic compounds. If evacuation is not required, shoreline and water access could be cut back or prohibited. Water views would be spoiled by oil slicks and noisy cleanup operations, and oiled shorelines would likely be mechanically cleaned by pressure washing and bulldozing.–Property owners also face losses to assessed values. A study conducted in British Columbia revealed that privately owned properties can lose from 10-40 percent in value, and even properties near spills that are not directly affected can lose value by association.”
  • “Typical homeowner’s insurance would not provide compensation in the event of an oil spill. Pollutants are excluded in property policies unless the coverage is specifically defined to include the pollutant. According to my local insurance agent, unless a homeowner’s policy specifically covers oil spills, there would be no compensation for loss of use or loss of value resulting directly or indirectly from an oil spill. Further, it would be both difficult and most likely quite expensive to find such coverage.
  • “The Exxon Valdez oil spill, which hasn’t been completely cleaned up after 25 years, still has continuous and compounding environmental and economic impacts.8 Washington State can’t afford that tragedy. The 165,000 jobs and $10.8 billion in annual economic activity don’t accurately estimate the costs that such a catastrophe would have on the state.”
  • See the well-referenced article here: http://www.whatcomwatch.org/php/WW_open.php?id=1795
  • Thanks to Andy MacKinnon for pointing to this.

Letter of Support for the BC Government Motion of Dec 5 from the Board of FER

Our shoreline and Race Rocks Ecological reserve are  at risk of an oil spill. Metchosin resident Garry Fletcher and Victoria resident Mike Fenger have been Intervenors in the NEB Kinder Morgan/ Trans Mountain Pipeline Proposal Hearing  on behalf of the Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves. The letter linked here was sent in support of the Province of British Columbia’s  attempts to have full disclosure of the emergency Plans of the WCMRC (Western Canada Marine Response Corporation). ( which happens to be over 50% owned by Kinder Morgan…)

RE: Notice of Motion by the Province of British Columbia submitted December 5, 2014 OH -01- 2014 Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (“Trans Mountain”) Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the “Project”) File Number OF-Fac-Oil-T260-2013-03 02

As an Intervenor in the above mentioned application, the Board of Friends of Ecological Reserve’s (Board of FER )provides the following comments in support for BC’s Motion submitted by the Province of British Columbia on December 5, 2014.
Please be advised that the Board of FER supports the order sought in the Province of British Columbia’s Notice of Motion dated December 5, 2014:————-

The complete text of this letter can be viewed here on the National Energy Board Website .

 Internal FER website link to this pdf:

Special Report: Tar Sands Reporting Project

Ed note: This link  is included here as an ongoing record of the problem associated with the tar sands project which has resulted in the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion and the Northern Gateway Project of Enbridge.   It is an indication of the state of the Social License Oil companies have achieved with such projects.

mine-site-oil-sands_N3G4651_webSpecial Report: Tar Sands Reporting Project
From the Vancouver Observer: “
Our award-winning team’s crowd-funded series on the people, places and conflicts associated with Canada’s tar sands.”

B.C. coast, St. Lawrence Estuary most at Risk for Major Marine Oil Spill: Report

Adapted from the Times Colonist at this link:
http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/b-c-coast-st-lawrence-estuary-most-at-risk-for-major-marine-oil-spill-report-1.806714

The Canadian Press
January 29, 2014 01:24 PM  

OTTAWA — A government-commissioned risk analysis says the coast of southern British Columbia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are the Canadian areas most vulnerable marine oil spills and among the most likely for a major spill to occur.

The findings will add to the debate over several pipeline proposals — including two in B.C. that the report says will substantially increase marine risks.

The 256-page study, delivered this month to Transport Canada, looks at the risks associated with marine oil spills south of the 60th parallel under current shipping volumes.

race-rocks-lighthouseIt identifies the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the Cabot Strait off Newfoundland, the eastern coast of Cape Breton Island and the Gulf of St. Lawrence as the most probable areas for a major oil spill.

But the study also assesses the potential impact of four proposed pipeline projects, including the Northern Gateway Pipeline to Kitimat and Kinder Morgan’s plan to almost triple its Trans Mountain line into Vancouver.

The report says the Kinder Morgan proposal would essentially double oil traffic in an already vulnerable marine environment — with a corresponding increase in spill frequency — while the Northern Gateway marine route would turn what are currently very low, near-shore risks into very high risks.

The study found that reversing Enbridge’s Line 9 to carry Western Canadian crude to refineries in Montreal and Quebec City would actually lower marine spill risks, as it would reduce oil imports through the sensitive Gulf of St. Lawrence.

And the study found that the proposed Energy East Pipeline to St. John, N.B., would likely be a wash, reducing shipping imports but increasing oil exports to leave the overall marine risk about where it is now.

© Copyright Times Colonist

Posts on this website about the risk of oil spills on Metchosin’s shores:

Posts on the Ecological Reserves website about the threat of Oil Spills from Tanker Traffic

Posts on the Race Rocks website about the Risk from Increased Tanker Traffic

See the following posts for further information on Tanker traffic off our shores:

figure-3-overall-risks-oil- spills

 Review of Canada’s Ship-Source Oil-Spill Preparedness and response Regime: 

 

 

Application to NEB by Board of Friends of Ecological Reserves

mapandships
 Ship traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Metchosin Marine Issues, an Expression of Concern.

The Unique Value of our Coastal Ecosystems

The Coastal Resources of Metchosin are a valuable form of Natural Capital that must have special consideration when Development Planning is done in the District.   The Crown owns the foreshore to the high tide mark, and although one would think this allowed protection, there are still considerable threats to the ecological integrity of this area, which must be considered. The shoreline is an interface between two systems, the terrestrial uplands and the open ocean. As typical of any natural system, one cannot separate them in terms of management decisions, as they have processes, which interact.   Community members of a progressive coastal community should tolerate no activities involving human action that contribute to any level of destabilization or decline of our present shoreline ecosystems.

Along our shorelines in Metchosin, we have a variety of unique marine ecosystems.

  • Tidal marshes,
  • lagoons,
  • estuaries,
  • bays,
  • eel-grass beds,
  • high speed current channels,
  • underwater caves,
  • vertical underwater cliffs,
  • boulder beaches,
  • sand beaches,
  • and pebble (pocket) beaches.

Every metre of coastal intertidal zone also has a characteristic set of organisms, which can be impacted by actions of humans either from the land side or the ocean side.  Larger commercial species of fish often feed or spawn near the shoreline interface, juvenile fish migrate along shorelines, often relying on protective habitat of overhanging vegetation or kelp beds, and the energy flow in the food webs of at least 7 local marine mammal species are directly affected.

It is further recognized that a viable commercial crab fishery, as well as an extensive sports fishery operates along the coastal areas of Metchosin.

Rockfishconservationareas19_20 The ocean environment in the area of Race Passage has also been recognized as an important habitat for the regeneration of Rockfish stock leading to the creation of a DFO rockfish conservation areas where all fishing is prohibited.

 

 

 

anthroimpactThis file and map of the the Metchosin Shoreline shows the major areas where humans have modified the habitat, often resulting in ecosystem modification and loss of habitat for local species of fish, invertebrates and marine mammals. The term Anthropogenic refers to human modification.

 

ecoareasThis file contains a map with the ecologically sensitive areas of Metchosin’s Coastal Ecosystems.
Terrestrial Threats:

  • Erosion from road building, utility and sewer installation, subdivision development carrying silt into the receiving waters has a negative impact on filter feeders (e.g. Clams, mussels and anemone) in the ocean.
  • Crushed rock deposited in upland areas in road building and building lot creation may have serious toxic impacts on marine life as water leaches through it carrying dissolved metallic ions to the sea.
  • Accidental or planned deposition of hazardous materials in soils can also lead to leaching to the marine waters.
  • Deforestation on upland slopes leads to deterioration of coastal ecosystems.
  • Channelization of streams leads to silt output and increased fresh water flow to ocean environments.
  • Human traffic, (especially horses) on beaches can severely impact on spawning areas of needle fish (on Taylor beach)
  • Uncontrolled dogs can have a serious impact on feeding patterns of shorebirds- especially crucial during migration.
  • Humans and dogs on beaches can impact on molting elephant seals.
  • Beach debris can be washed seaward, to be ingested by marine animals.
  • Oil and chemicals from storm sewer drains is toxic to marine creatures.
  • Building too close to cliffs can lead to destabilization and therefore slumping of land into the ocean. This is especially of concern along the cliffs of Parry Bay and Albert Head.
  • Sewage disposal on land in septic fields, contributes a large nutrient load as it leaches through to the shoreline. The heavy die-off of algal growth on Weir?s beach annually, is evidence of this.
  • Development on the coastline as has recently occurred South of Devonian Park can lead to alteration of the coastal resource, habitat smothering and destruction, and increases shoreline erosion risk.
  • Backshore alteration of any beach habitat for intended purposes of bank stabilization, inevitably in the long run leads to shorefront habitat deterioration.

Marine Threats:

Tanker traffic very close to our shores, poses a continual risk of oil and chemical spills. In the areas shown in the map, red indicates highly sensitive and a long term residency of oil. Yellow indicates a lesser residence time of oil. Green indicates a faster cleanup may be possible because of exposure to waves and currents.

  • Increase in cruise lines in recent years has a potential to impact our coastal resources.
  • Increasing fast boat traffic is hazardous to harbour seal pups and slow moving marine mammals (such as elephant seals) in particular.  It also increases rates of coastal erosion in sheltered bays.
  • Boat motor sound underwater affects animals relying on the underwater seascape for communication.
  • whalewiseWhale watching boating patterns have an impact on the time whales can spend foraging in the area.

 

 

  • Antifouling compounds on ships (some military) and in boats in marinas provide a further risk to the marine environment

Return to MetchosinCoastal

Originally published by G.Fletcher in 2004.