REPORTING · 14th October 2011
Murray Minchin presented at Council on Monday, October 3rd. He presented a slideshow to Council entitled Pipeline Risks and Geological Hazards.
“Enbridge is used to working East of the Rockies where the terrain is a lot gentler then it is here around Kitimat and the coast rangeand there's few geological hazards as compared to here. "What they're going to be transporting is diluted bitumen, which is a lot different than a typical crude oil pipeline. It's actually almost twice the pressure of what a crude oil pipeline pumps its oil at. Actually, every day, there's going to be thousands of pounds of sand coming down the pipe, mixed in with the diluted bitumen. The resulting pressure in the pipe and the friction of the sand keeps the temperature in the pipe at 150 degrees farhenheit,” said Minchin.
He stated a pipeline was twice the pressure and Enbridge’s Control Centre has stated they cannot detect spills less then 174,000 litres per hour. If a spill happens in the wilderness, there will not be anyone there to inform the control centre.
Minchin pointed out the high sulphur content of the Bitumen makes it susceptible to bacteria induced corrosion which can eat away at a pipe at 4 mm a year. These pits can split a pipe.
He showed Council the Kalamazoo pipe and reminded them the Control Centre had all of the alarms going off. The employees were misinterpreting the alarms and the people who lived in the area discovered it.
It started in a small creek. From there, it leaked into the river. Minchin stated booming was useless because the oil kept going over and under the booms. Two dams slowed the oil keeping it out of the great lakes.
Minchin explained the Bitumen is heavy so as the Condensate evaporates, the oil sinks to the bottom of the river.
His next slide showed the terrain in Kitimat.
“We have the Coast Range Mountains where we have sever weather and a lot greater geological hazards then Enbridge has ever faced before in Canada,” said Minchin.
His slide showed Hunter Creek where Enbridge has already estimated a spill of 2,000,000 litres because of its location prevents them from putting in shut off valves. Hunter Creek is in the upper Kitimat and has 7 months of inaccessibility by truck. Oil spills under snow and ice are invisible from the top. Cutting a road through the snow destroys the road itself. There are also windfalls loosening the slope.
Minchin pointed out the first location for placing booms is a forestry camp. He also pointed out the water conditions makes booming the river ineffective. The next booming location is at 18 Mile Bridge, in a moving land mass called an esker. This is 40 kilometres from the creek.
The third boom location is in a recreational fishing spot. The fourth boom is at the part of highway which was reinforced during the recent storm. The fifth boom is Raddley Park.
“It’s not a matter of if there is going to be a pipeline spill, it’s always a matter of when, where and how big and will it be in 10 years, 20 years or 50 years,” said Minchin.
Minchin read a report from Enbridge which estimated the 2,000,000 litre spill would close the fishing season for four years or longer. He added another report which said a closure would affect local residents, fishing guides and tourists. This loss would be noticeable in Kitimat.
“In Enbridge’s proposal, they estimate that it could take four hours for employees and the equipment to reach Hunter Creek to deal with a spill. But, in the proposal as well, they estimate that the spill could reach the estuary in as little as four hours during a flood,” said Minchin.
As bitumen sinks, it will be in the river for generations. Minchin pointed out Enbridge has expansion plans which would increase all of this. This does not go before the JRP. He asked Council if they stood on short term gain for a few or protecting the globally significant waters.
Minchin added, according to the Joint Review Panel, the project could be allowed to proceed if the environmental effects could be justified.
“Can you trust the technology? No, because they failed, their history shows that they failed. Evidence says that their technologies and the employees operating those technologies fail. Can you trust their promises? No, because there is a time after the spill in Michigan, Enbridge hit the ground with a lot of promises, then later, when the actual offers came in from the people who lived their for damages, they were lower,” said Minchin.
He asked Council to think about this because they can hide behind their lawyers in the future saying these were merely expressions of intention. He asked them what Council’s Moral Duty was. He also asked them to take a balanced view by looking at both the negatives and positives in this project.
Councillor Rob Goffinet asked Minchin if he will present to the JRP. Minchin explained Douglas Channel Watch have intervener status.
Choose your clean up!
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 15th October 2011
It is of my opinion that the pipeline is far too risky given the value of our culture.
I also believe that it is time for people to make a serious effort to stop feeding the addiction on cheap oil.
Disposable utensils for example.
Many people would avoid cleaning up after a social gathering but would volunteer in a crisis to cleanup rocks and wildlife? WTF ?
Carpool, re-use plastics, recycle plastics.
We should recycle plastics here and send the material back!
Pressure your government to make all waste taxable by the producer of the product and those who dispose of it.
There should be zero waste by law.
Make everything, including the environment, a part of the balance sheet.
Murray is very well informed.
Comment by Walter Fricke on 15th October 2011
There are a lot of highly educated people with knowledge of shipping, metal fatigue, pipelines and Enbridge's horrible environmental track record with many spills, working against this "proposal". I'm not as educated, but have read everything I can, regarding Enbridge and diluted bitumen. These folks fighting this proposal are thinking of our, and your childrens healthy future by their actions. Please support and try to understand the reasoning of the anti-Enbridge crowd. A healthy life and lifestyle is about way more than short term financial gain. A healthy populace is dependent on a healthy environment, which Enbridge threatens to undermine with this monstrosity.