Opinion

Editorial — Right decision on intervening in National Energy Board hearings

Langley Township council has acted properly in registering as an intervenor in the National Energy Board hearings on the Kinder Morgan plan to expand the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

In fact, the energy company is actually building a brand-new pipeline, and in Langley, the new pipeline will divert from the original route and find a new right-of-way to the oil terminal in North Burnaby. This is because of urban development in the once-rural area of Walnut Grove, where the original pipeline is located.

Langley Township and its residents have a lot at stake with the potential expansion of the pipeline. Canada needs to be able to sell its oil products, and oil and gas are key factors in our way of life. Any claims to the contrary are simply not credible.

Yet at the same time, the environment must not be compromised in any way, if the NEB allows another pipeline to be built. In Langley, the existing pipeline crosses many creeks and rivers, and the new pipeline will do the same. Langley Township residents also rely on groundwater to a much greater degree than in most other parts of the Lower Mainland.

Rivers and creeks and the aquifer must be properly protected during construction, and then on an ongoing basis when the new pipeline is operating. There must be good protocols to respond to any spills. For those reasons alone, the Township needs to have a voice at the hearings.

But it also has another interest. It’s possible that the new pipeline will be routed across the Redwoods Golf Course, a property purchased by Township specifically for the long-term, as an environmental and park preserve. A pipeline is not incompatible with this long-term goal — but the Township must think of the distant future, not just added tax revenue from the pipeline.

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