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Kinder Morgan oil spill emergency practice in Chilliwack

Kinder Morgan employees participate in an emergency oil spill training exercise at Cheam First Nation beach on the Fraser River Thursday. - Paul J. Henderson
Kinder Morgan employees participate in an emergency oil spill training exercise at Cheam First Nation beach on the Fraser River Thursday.
— image credit: Paul J. Henderson

(More photos below.)

No oil was released. No animals were affected. No water was contaminated.

But if you saw something curious while crossing the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge Thursday, that was Kinder Morgan employees involved in an emergency response drill on the Fraser River on Cheam First Nation's beach.

The exercise involved local aboriginals, police, the SPCA, CP Rail, wildlife recovery people and spill response experts.

The Kinder Morgan employees were led by trainer Michael Locke from Western Canadian Spill Services.

Thursday's oil response practice was one of about 15 such training sessions Kinder Morgan conducts annually to ensure it's ready in the unlikely worst-case scenario of an oil spill.

"It is a possibility and we want to be ready for all eventualities," said Rob Hadden, Western region director for Kinder Morgan.

"We are confident that we are going to respond and rescue the oil in the event of an incident."

Crews at the beach Thursday set up booms in the water that would capture the oil, which would be guided towards shore and removed into tanks or trucks using a skimmer.

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline runs 1,150 kilometres from Alberta to Burnaby. It runs on the south side of Highway 1 until it crosses underneath to the old Minter Gardens on the north side.

From there it runs under farmland in Rosedale and East Chilliwack, and crosses back under the highway to the south side at Upper Prairie Road. The pipeline runs through Sardis and crosses Vedder Road near the Tzeachten reserve, and eventually crosses the Vedder River west of Lickman Road into Yarrow.

The pipeline also runs under Kinkora Golf Course, the school yard at Watson elementary and a number of residential properties in Sardis.

Kinder Morgan has applied to the National Energy Board (NEB) for a $5.4 billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that would triple the capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.

NEB hearings are expected to start next January.

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