Opinion: More pipeline questions than answers

A federal panel looking into Trans Mountain Expansion Projects asks if the proposed route across Chilliwack's aquifer is the best. So do we.

Anyone hoping for answers from the Ministerial Panel on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project will have to wait a little longer.

The panel, which released its 58-page report on Thursday, asked six questions instead – questions it says need to be addressed if the $6.8 billion project is to proceed.

The panel was appointed by the newly elected Liberal government this year in response to wide-spread concern the earlier National Energy Board hearings were inadequate.

Those hearings led to the eventual approval of the project, contingent on Kinder Morgan meeting more than 150 conditions. The federal government still has final say on whether or not the project will proceed; it’s vowed to release its decision before the end of the year.

If approved, the Trans Mountain Expansion Project would add a second pipeline along most of its existing pipeline corridor, allowing more than 890,000 barrels of bitumen a day to be shipped from the oilsands in Alberta to the company’s terminal in Burnaby for export.

The route cuts through the centre of Chilliwack, bisecting neighbourhoods, travelling though backyards and crossing over top of the city’s only source of drinking water.

The risk to Chilliwack’s aquifer was identified by the City of Chilliwack in its submission to the NEB. And it was identified again in the panel’s report.

Of the six questions listed by the panel, one asks if the route chosen by Kinder Morgan is the best option.

“If approved, what route would best serve aquifer, municipal, aquatic and marine safety?”

It is a legitimate question to ask. Just because the existing pipeline crosses Chilliwack’s aquifer, that does not mean other options should not be explored.

As the City of Chilliwack points out, “Once contaminated, it is unlikely that the aquifer could be remediated adequately to use for drinking water purposes again.”

Critics of the pipeline proposal argue the remaining questions asked by the panel make it impossible for the Liberal government to grant its approval.

That may or may not be the case.

But one thing is certain. Chilliwack residents are entitled to the federal government’s answer as to why their aquifer is the only option for a major pipeline.

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Madalyn Clempson, 18, of Chilliwack sings ‘Hiney Yamin Ba-im.’ She won the Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music award at the Performing Arts BC Virtual Provincial Festival. (YouTube)
Chilliwack youth bring home awards from provincial performing arts festival

Chilliwack’s 18-year-old Madalyn Clempson ‘a bit stunned’ to have won Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read