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Security measures increased for pipeline hearing in Kelowna

Image Credit: (SOURCE/Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency)
January 25, 2013 - 12:26 PM

UPDATE: Jan. 28, 2013 - 9:21 a.m.

An official spokesperson for the National Energy Board says they don't anticipate a physical threat to anyone attending today's hearing about the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.

A press release came to the attention of media on Friday revealing safety protocols had been changed at the Sandman Hotel & Suites venue in Kelowna. The changes segregate the general public from the room where 31 Kelowna and area residents will make statements to a panel. National Energy Board communications officer, Kristen Higgins says the changes were made so oral statements could be given in an effective way without interruptions.

"There isn't a threat to speakers in a personal way," she said. "The changes to security were just to make sure the hearing can run in an efficient way. Getting (resident's) information on the public record is what these hearings are about. If they can't present their point of view, then the panel can't consider it in their official report."

Higgins said she couldn't elaborate on the information the panel received resulting in the change to security measures.

UPDATE: Jan. 25, 2013 - 12:36 p.m.

Public safety is a concern for the upcoming joint review panel hearing over the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. A public notice was issued stating, "The panel has become aware of information regarding public safety concerns if the hearing continues as originally planned." As a result of concerns, the panel is restricting the hearing room to oral statement presenters, their guests and media.

The panel will provide a room for the public to hear the audio broadacast in a different location to be announced. The statement says, "The panel is committed to providing a safe and secure venue for all of its proceedings".

An annonymous source at the Sandman Hotel in Kelowna says security was increased because of protests and activities at other hearings held recently.

Five protesters were arrested at the public meeting held in Vancouver Jan. 15., according to a CBC article. Police believe three men and two women were able to sneak into proceedings with the help of a scheduled speaker. As well, there were hundreds of protesters outside the venue, including Idle No More activists, the Calgary Herald reports.

Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Tania Carroll says the detachment was not involved with decisions regarding security changes for the venue.

A live audio broadcast as well as transcripts will be available through the panel's website.

Jan. 25, 2013 - 12:26 p.m.

Oral statements regarding the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project will be heard in Kelowna, 10 a.m. Jan. 28 at the Sandman Hotel & Suites at 2130 Harvey Avenue.

The proposed system will consist of twin pipelines running from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimit, British Columbia. The westbound pipeline would export bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands diluted with natural gas condensate to be transported mainly to Asian markets by oil tankers, with the eastbound importing natural gas condensate only.

Bitumen is the gooey black material extracted out of the Alberta Tar Sands (among other places around the globe). It is a petroleum product with the consistency of molasses and must be diluted with another hydrocarbon to become fluid enough to be transported effectively by pipeline.

Concerns were brought up at the first Vancouver meeting.

One citizen said the price of petroleum would go up if the pipeline was built which he believed would damage the economy. He also said bitumen is corrosive and that a large spill was inevitable if higher engineering standards were not employed in the structure of the pipelines. He said he didn't believe the technology was ready for such a new product and didn't want to see British Columbia used as a testing ground. Additionally, he was concern about the environmental impact of an oil spill off the coast of Kitimit B.C. where the tankers will be loaded before heading overseas.

Another citizen said he was standing along with indigenous peoples all across B.C. because he believes formal agreements between the federal government and Aboriginal communities were being breached. As well, he thought the pipeline would interfere with their way of life, interrupting the movement of natural habitat and potentially poisoning the environment.

There was no statement in the transcript from the panel about points brought up during presentations.

Enbridge Northern Gateway proposes the pipeline will temporarily employ close to 3,000 with 560 long-term positions. They say it will bring a total of $831 million across central, coastal and the northeastern B.C. economies. Some goods and services listed in the estimate include $162 million for equipment rentals and $205 million for shelter and meals for workers. As well, tax revenues are estimated by the company at $1.2 billion over 30 years.

The pipeline is expected to move an average of 525,000 barrels of petroleum products west per day along with approximately 193,000 barrels of condensate east. The Kitimit Marine Terminal would have two ship berths and storage for three consate tanks and 11 petroleum tanks. It would include a radar monitoring station and first response capabilities.

The joint review panel conducting the review of the proposed pipeline have already heard oral statements in Victoria and Vancouver. Another will be held in Vancouver Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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