Kinder Morgan goes on defensive after oil spill comments

An oil tanker offshore of Kinder Morgan
An oil tanker offshore of Kinder Morgan's Westridge Marine Terminal in north Burnaby. Five times as many tankers would load if the company twins its Trans Mountain pipeline.
— image credit: Contributed

Kinder Morgan went on the defensive after the company made headlines this week for seeming to suggest that oil spills can have economic benefits.

As reported in the NewsLeader in January, the company's application to the National Energy Board to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline includes oil spill maps. They  show that, based on modeling, crude oil could flow through Burnaby neighbourhoods on the way to local waterways in the event of a rupture or spill.

But there are positives to such an event, it says in its 15,000-page application.

"Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers."

National media splashed the assertion across its headlines.

But the statement was taken out of context, says Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada.

The statement comes from a section in the application that "looks in-depth at the various socio-economic effects of a worst-case-scenario spill, but we all know that at the end of the day the total effect of a spill is negative and every effort must be expended to prevent such a thing from happening," Anderson said in a statement.

"Let me be clear: No spill is acceptable to me anywhere, anytime, for any reason. Spills are not good for anyone. Period."

And while the project has "many positive economic benefits," he said, "Spills are not part of our economic benefits analysis, nor do we in any way say that money spent on spill response would be justification for our project."

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