October 29, 2015 10:21 pm

Kinder Morgan conducts oil spill drill near Burnaby terminal

WATCH: Boats, trucks, buses and people descended on Burrard Inlet to clean up thousands of litres of oil as part of a drill. Jennifer Palma reports.

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Crews worked to contain and manage an oil spill in Burrard Inlet today – albeit not a real one.

“We do about 20 training sessions and exercises a year. Of those, one or two are full deployment exercises,” said Michael Davies, Kinder Morgan’s Senior Manager of Marine Development.

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Today’s full deployment exercise took place outside Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal, the proposed end point for the controversial $5 billion twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The company practiced how to deal with a spill from a vessel loading arm.

Taking part in the response spill was the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation and the Coast Guard. The National Energy Board was also in attendance to evaluate.

“The program is being looked at all the time. When we find [new] learnings, either through these exercises or through new information, the plans are revised and reissued,” said Michael Lowry or Western Canada Marine Response Corporation.

Kinder Morgan says they’re working to protect against spills.

READ MORE: Oil spill could cost Vancouver $1.2 billion, says new report

“We ourselves did a comprehensive assessment risk of vessel traffic. It resulted in the enhancements of $100 million and five new bases on the route,” said Davies.

But opponents of the proposed pipeline says drills like this aren’t enough to ensure the safety of British Columbia’s waterways.

“This isn’t even the beginning of what needs to be done,” says Karen Wristen of Living Oceans.

“Coast Guard needs to take the lead in a robust public process that’s going to create a robust emergency cleanup response all up and down the coast.

“What [Kinder Morgan] is proposing is to increase phenomenally shipping in the harbour at the time when every other terminal in the harbour is planning to increase their shipping as well. This is what really gives me concern about the whole project. There are unmanaged risks here that we’re not addressing.”

– With files from Jennifer Palma

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