This is an important issue highlighted by this Wilderness Committee email…well worth standing up to have our say about:
Kinder Morgan Pipeline + BC Parks = Bad News
If you’re like me, you probably thought (or at least hoped) that wilderness areas were safe from development once they’d been protected as provincial parks. But recently, the BC government has been undermining park protection.
In November 2013, the BC Ministry of the Environment issued a park use permit to Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P. (a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan), which allows the company to conduct “research” related to building a pipeline through five protected areas: Finn Creek Provincial Park; North Thompson River Provincial Park; Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area; Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area; and Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park.
In some cases the new pipeline will be alongside the existing Kinder Morgan oil pipeline, which currently runs through certain parks that were established after the original line was built. In other areas, the company is considering an entirely new pipeline route.
Researchers hired by Trans Mountain are already hard at work, conducting various activities to help evaluate the feasibility of building a pipeline through BC parks. This includes taking soil samples, and even electro-shocking fish – a research technique that involves stunning fish with electric currents in order to assess fish populations in a stream or river. All this research is being undertaken with the eventual goal of having these lands taken out of the parks.
Recently, however, the BC government was advised that the type of industrial park use permit granted to Trans Mountain was likely illegal under BC’s Park Act. Instead of withdrawing the permit, the government introduced new legislation, skipped the public consultation and rushed through Bill 4: the Park Amendment Act.
In the Legislature Environment Minister Mary Polak, actually admitted that the reason Bill 4 was pushed through so aggressively – and with so little debate – was to “ensure that we can continue on with what we have been doing”. She acknowledged that the granting of these permits “likely would not stand the test of a [court] review”, and that the Park Act amendments would help the government avoid a legal challenge.
Passing Bill 4 certainly helped out pipeline companies seeking access to protected lands – but the Kinder Morgan research permit was issued before these amendments were made. Consequently, we believe that this permit is unlawful. (Read more in this story from today’s Globe & Mail…)
Please join us in calling on BC’s Minister of Environment to revoke this unlawful permit and repeal Bill 4. We are also urging the government to stop considering requests from industry to have lands removed from parks and protected areas.
Gwen Barlee | Policy Director