A delegation from Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project will be addressing Sooke Council during a Committee of the Whole meeting this coming Tuesday night at 7 p.m. This is a rare regional appearance by representatives from the Texas-based multi-national corporation. We’re assuming they’ve chosen Sooke for this presentation because we’re a front-line seaside community and also because of our town’s two-thirds majority plebiscite vote in November opposing increased tanker traffic in coastal BC waters.
If Kinder Morgan’s proposal is approved by the National Energy Board, oil tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca will increase from 60 to 408 supertankers a year. The already strong risk of a spill in our local waters – a danger identified by Transport Canada and numerous other groups and individuals, among them former Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne and JDF Director Mike Hicks – will become unacceptably high.
As a prelude to Tuesday night, please read the letter in this week’s Sooke News Mirror from Gail Armitage, coordinator of the Sooke chapter of the Dogwood Initiative. (Ms. Armitage also submitted a set of queries that council might like to ask KM’s representatives: KM_April 7_proposed questions).
As previewed by Sooke councillor Kerrie Reay at the Jan. 26 council meeting, KM will likely offer the following solutions to these dangers: i) Tug escort for tankers will be extended to the Swiftsure Bank and the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht food fishing grounds; ii) Two pilots will be on tankers when they traverse the Strait of Juan de Fuca; and iii) Kinder Morgan is prepared to invest $100 million in five emergency response sites in the region, namely in Delta, Nanaimo, the Saanich Peninsula, Race Rocks and Sooke. Ms. Reay, the immediate past-president of the Conservative Party of Canada’s Esquimalt Saanich Sooke Riding Association, was the one councillor to vote against the tanker plebiscite last fall.
With climate change rampant, Transition Sooke is part of a growing movement of groups and individuals who believe that now is the time to leave fossil fuels in the ground, work with current sources of energy and begin to dramatically escalate investments in clean energy. We insist that Supernatural BC, the Best Place on Earth TM, be treated with all due respect.
Please show your support for a sustainable green future by attending the council meeting. Seating is limited, and we expect a standing-room-only turnout. Following Mayor Tait’s introduction, the KM delegation will make its presentation and council members will be given the opportunity to ask questions. The public will then be granted time to make statements (but not directly question KM’s representatives, though it’s possible that queries can be redirected via the Mayor).
The good news is that Sooke’s new council has strongly renewed and restated its opposition to increased tanker traffic via a resolution that will be addressed at the annual convention of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, two weekends from now in Courtenay. You’ll find the Sooke resolution and one from Esquimalt (which calls for an independent pipeline review given inconsistencies in the NEB process) on pages 47/48 of the AVICC Annual Report and Resolution book, which can be downloaded here.