The Trans Mountain pipeline battle may have been fought in parliamentary buildings in Ottawa, Edmonton and Victoria, but it’s been fought over facilities like the terminal in Burnaby, B.C. — the endpoint of the Trans Mountain pipeline system.
With the federal government announcing its approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project Tuesday, Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley feels his city’s concerns have been talked over.
Hurley, a former firefighter, said if the worst happens at the terminal on Burnaby Mountain, it’ll be his residents and firefighters bearing the brunt of the impact.
“Well, the real impact could be totally disastrous. Major fires, major chemical explosions, things down that very serious line. And serious loss of life is possible,” Hurley said.
And those concerns have been waved away, he said, with the pipeline being “pushed onto” a community that doesn’t want it and hasn’t had an opportunity to make its voices heard.
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“Well, we’re absolutely ignored. We’ve been ignored through the whole process in the interest of foreign oil companies, instead of taking our citizens into consideration,” Hurley said.
“We’re left here holding the real risk for the rest of the country here in Burnaby. So no one seems to have taken into consideration the great risk that our residents will be facing.”
He said the B.C. government has done its best and kept in contact with the city, but added the province is in the same position as he is.
Hurley said it’s ironic that the federal government would green-light a project that’s expected to increase tanker traffic off the B.C. coast seven-fold just a day after declaring a climate emergency.
“It flies in the face of all the good work that’s been done over many years to ensure that we were on track with our climate change initiatives,” Hurley said.
“It’s bizarre to say the least.”
But Burnaby isn’t done fighting the pipeline, he said. The city is applying for intervenor status in the Supreme Court hearing to appeal a BC Court of Appeal decision over the province’s ability to regulate bitumen shipments.
And if there’s a potential for other legal action, he’ll be looking into that, too.
“Prime Minister Trudeau once said that governments grant permits but communities grant permission. On behalf of Burnaby Council, I can assure you that we do not grant permission,” Mayor Hurley said in a release.