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Pipeline meeting at Sardis secondary Thursday

Concerned citizens are hosting a public meeting on Thursday, June 5 at Sardis Secondary to talk about the risks of pipeline spills in the Chilliwack area.

Parents, teachers, community members have been raising concerns about the plan to expand transportation of diluted bitumen through neighbourhoods as part of the Kinder Morgan Transmountain Pipeline expansion proposal.

"It is the degree of devastation that would be caused by spilled fossil fuel, particularly the seriously noxious gases from spilled dil-bit, that has alarm bells ringing among my neighbours and I," said Wendy Major, one of the organizers. "Spills from dil-bit pipelines like the one running through our community have proven to have serious negative impacts to the health of other afflicted communities, particularly on the children."

With dil-bit being sent at high pressure through the 61-year-old Transmountain pipeline and also transported in increasing volumes by rail across B.C., the unwelcome event of spill and even possible explosion is framed by many as not an "if" but a "when."

"We have been told the oil companies' perspectives as they continue to refine and market their proposed routes and plans," adds Major. "But we need to understand the other side of the coin for ourselves. People in other parts of North America who have experienced heavy oil spills in their neighbourhoods - such as Kalamazoo, Michigan and Mayflower, Arkansas - are really cautioning other communities.

"We should heed those warnings and stand up for our community. And doing that starts with gathering information."

Community members are invited to come out to share thoughts, concerns and questions.

The meeting is Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at Sardis Secondary in the MacAstocker Theatre.

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