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BTA applies for pipeline intervenor status

The Burnaby Teachers' Association has applied for intervenor status at the hearings for the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

It has applied to the National Energy Board for permission to speak at its upcoming hearings and plans to question the need for the expansion while raising concerns for the safety of students and teachers.

"We have not been assured that we or our students can be protected from airborne or liquid contamination resulting from a pipeline rupture," the BTA said in its application. "We see no need to exacerbate such risks by expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline through Burnaby, and advise strongly that the expansion not be permitted to happen."

The BTA said in a press release that the proposed pipeline expansion would run close to schools on or near the current route—Forest Grove, Stoney Creek, Westridge, Lochdale and Montecito elementaries, and Burnaby Mountain secondary—and also approach Seaforth and Cameron elementaries.

“Based on what we know – the cancellation of public information sessions, the extremely tight deadline to apply to take part in the hearing – it appears the NEB is not terribly interested in an open and honest process,” said BTA president James Sanyshyn.

“And knowing our federal government, it seems certain they want to push this through regardless of what the public thinks. Nevertheless, it is important to raise dissent – if only to show the process for what it is.”

The BTA is holding an information and networking meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 4 p.m. at its office, 115-3993 Henning Drive, Burnaby and invites any concerned Burnaby residents and parents to attend. RSVP to bta@bctf.ca.

The local teachers' union also encourages people to visit Burnaby-Douglas NDP MP Kennedy Stewart's website, www.LetBCDecide.ca, and to apply to participate in the NEB hearings. The application deadline is Feb. 12.

Kinder Morgan Canada's proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, would almost triple capacity to allow for oil sands crude to be exported to overseas markets by tanker ships.

While much of the expansion would follow the existing route, in areas like Greater Vancouver where the existing pipeline is now underneath urban, developed neighborhoods, new routes will likely be created.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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