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City wants ability to question pipeline project

The proposed expansion route and current route of the Trans Mountain Pipeline through Kamloops.
Image Credit: Trans Mountain
January 27, 2014 - 3:00 PM

KAMLOOPS – Anyone can submit a letter of comment about the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project through the application process but city staff are hoping to question, cross examine and present information of their own by getting intervenor status.

Staff are asking council to allow them to pursue intervenor status because of the potential environmental impact on a number of areas in the city including Westsyde, the airport gateway, the Thompson River, Kenna Cartwright Park and even the location of the proposed Ajax Mine.

The expansion proposal was submitted last month to the National Energy Board and if approved would create 12 new pumping stations and 987 kilometres of new oil pipeline between Strathcona County, AB and Burnaby, taking a slightly different path through Kamloops than the current pipeline.

Intervenor status grants a person or group broad participation rights and obligations during the hearing process, which is expected to take 15-18 months for this project. The hearing process begins after the application is deemed complete though any participants, both those looking to submit letters of comment or take part as intervenors, must apply to the board by Feb. 12 so a list of participants can be determined before the hearings start.

Staff believes any concerns the city may have will be addressed prior to the hearing but would like intervenor status in the event a resolution is not found prior.

The hearing process is expected to close at the end of June 2015 at which point the board will make a final decision. If approved construction should begin in 2015/2016 with the twinned pipeline expected to go into service beginning in 2017. The twinning will allow the system to move 890,000 barrels per day, a significant increase over the current 300,000 barrels per day.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

-This story was updated at 9:31 a.m., Jan. 28, 2014 to clarify the letter of comment process.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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