Mayor Gregor Robertson has penned an open letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to try to put a stop to the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
The National Energy Board recommended last month that Trudeau approve the expansion, but Robertson says the board’s regulatory process is “flawed and biased” after failing to consult communities along the pipeline route.
The letter comes as Mayor Robertson, along with Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Chief Maureen Thomas and Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation, visits Ottawa today to meet with the federal government on Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion.
“As Mayor of the City of Vancouver and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh (MST) First Nations on whose territories the proposed pipeline and tankers will cross, we strongly oppose the approval of the TMP Expansion Project,” Robertson says in his letter. “Our opposition is rooted in evidence, scientific data and traditional knowledge.”
One of Robertson’s main concerns, as mapped out in his letter, is that the NEB failed to consider human health and environmental impacts of diluted bitumen entering the province’s ecosystem. He also pointed to a lack of a seismic risk assessment along the pipeline route, and that there was no comprehensive assessment of a worst-case scenario oil spill in Burrard Inlet.
He says the waters of Vancouver are the most at risk, as oil tanker traffic would expand significantly from five to 34 tankers per month. A severe oil spill, says Robertson, could affect more than 10 km of Vancouver’s shoreline, including Stanley Park.
“Our green, clean, sustainable brand, valued at $31 billion, could suffer up to $3 billion in damage, on top of risking hundreds of thousands of jobs dependent on our ocean-based and green economy,” he says.
Last December, Trudeau entered into the COP21 Paris Climate Conference Agreement, a climate change initiative that aims to cut greenhouse gases and move away from fossil fuels by 2030. Robertson says approving a pipeline expansion goes against those goals.
“If Canada is to achieve a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change, a heavy oil pipeline expansion does not make sense. A heavy oil pipeline expansion goes against Canada’s global commitments and Vancouver’s leading green initiatives that have been achieved while building Vancouver’s nation-leading economy.”