Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could cost cities like Burnaby millions in extra infrastructure costs, according to a study filed as evidence in the National Energy Board hearing for the project.
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan is saying his city can’t be expected to absorb those costs.
“Cities have to be able to pass on those expenses to the people who are making a profit off the pipeline,” Corrigan told the Burnaby Now.
Five municipalities - Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Abbotsford and the Township of Langley - commissioned Associated Engineering to complete the study. The objective was to determine how much extra they are already paying, thanks to the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline, and how much more they can expect to pay if the pipeline expansion is approved.
According to the study, the current annual costs for operating, maintaining and replacing city infrastructure near the existing pipeline are $5 million for all five municipalities combined. If the pipeline expansion is approved, the projected costs total $93 million over a 50-year period.
Burnaby is now paying an annual $1.2 million, but that could rise to approximately $1.5 million should the second pipeline go through. The 50-year projected cost for Burnaby alone is $17.6 million.
Extra costs associated with building around and maintaining city infrastructure close to private utility lines is nothing new. The report notes BC Hydro, Telus and Fortis B.C. also have lines through the five municipalities. But Corrigan said those are accepted because they benefit the community, while the oil Kinder Morgan plans to ship through the expanded pipeline is slated solely for overseas markets.
“None of it is going to the Chevron refinery here. The oil isn’t destined for our markets,” Corrigan said. “It’s just purely an export pipeline.”
Kinder Morgan already pays roughly $7 million in annual property taxes, and that’s expected to rise to $13 million if the expansion is approved.
However, Corrigan’s not convinced that’s enough.
“Property taxes cover, in essence, a whole range of different services that are already provided. They’ve used up their taxes in the policing they caused,” he said, referring to the massive police presence on Burnaby Mountain during the anti-pipeline protests last fall.
The Associated Engineering report is among the dearth of evidence Burnaby filed for the National Energy Board hearing on the Trans Mountain pipeline. Kinder Morgan is expected to respond with the company’s oral summary arguments in Calgary this August.