Chilliwack anti-pipeline activists are pointing to the recent oil spill in an Arkansas neighbourhood as a further reason to stop the proposed twinning of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline that runs through the city.
"Pipeline breaks are not an anomaly," said Michael Hale, spokesperson for the PIPE UP Netowrk, in a press release. "They are part of business as usual in the pipeline business."
In late March more than 300,000 litres of Alberta oil sands diluted bitumen spilled into a residential Little Rock neighbourhood after a break in a 65-year-old pipeline run by ExxonMobil.
Oil flowed into a suburban area leading to the evacuation of two dozen homes. The oil also leaked into a nearby lake and a number of oil-covered ducks have been found.
"The photos from this spill highlight the risks of transporting bitumen and the tragedy that ensues when a break happens," added Lynn Perrin of PIPE UP. "Over 20 schools are within 200 metres of the Trans Mountain pipeline between Hope and Burnaby and it crosses the Sardis-Vedder and Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifers. We cannot afford to sit and wait for our neighbourhoods to become another sacrifice zone for the profits of big oil."
In Chilliwack, the Trans Mountain pipeline passes through Sardis and underneath the schoolyard at Watson elementary school.
Kinder Morgan's proposed $5.4-billion project involves twinning the 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby. The original expansion in 2012 called for a doubling of capacity from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) but increased demand from customers led to an increase in the proposal to 890,000 bpd.
If approved, the project would be operational by 2017.
A spokesperson for Kinder Morgan did not respond to a request to comment on the PIPE UP press release.
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