Spill preparedness and spill response were primary topics at a town hall forum on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) at Port Moody city hall on Wednesday night.

About 100 people attended the event where a panel including Michael Davies, Senior Director of Marine Development for Kinder Morgan Canada spent three hours listening to comments and answering questions from Port Moody residents about the proposed pipeline expansion project.

Other panelists included Kevin Obermeyer, president and CEO of Pacific Pilotage Authority, Scott Wright, director of response readiness for Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, and local ecologist and marine researcher Rod MacVicar.

The event was organized by the city of Port Moody, an Intervenor in Trans Mountain’s Application to the National Energy Board (NEB) to expand its oil pipeline between Edmonton, Alberta, and Burnaby, BC. Port Moody is using the forum as “an opportunity to gather community questions to assist the city in its participation in the NEB hearing process.”

Port Moody is a marine community located at the eastern end of Burrard Inlet, a few kilometres east of Trans Mountain’s Westridge Marine Terminal at the foot of Burnaby Mountain.

Residents asked about topics such as the behavior of diluted bitumen (heavy oil or dilbit) in seawater, and the response capacity of WCMRC. All of those topics are addressed in the Trans Mountain’s Application to the NEB.

“We believe the Application that we have prepared meets the requirements of the NEB,” Davies said. He noted that Port Moody has general and specific interests in the outcome of Board’s review, including general tax benefits to British Columbia, annual property tax payments to the city, and employment for some city residents.

“We have employees working for Trans Mountain who live in Port Moody, and we have contractors who work for us who live in Port Moody,” Davies said.

Wright told the audience that tests of the behavior of dilbit in seawater indicate it will continue to float for 10 days in the event of a spill, contrary to some claims that the product will quickly sink.

Wright noted that the WCMRC spill response capacity would improve significantly if the expansion project is approved, including round-the clock staffing and a maximum 120 minute spill response in the Inlet in the event of a spill. The average historical response time in the Inlet by WCMRC over the last 10 years is 60.4 minutes.

Trans Mountain has safely loaded marine vessels since 1956 without a single spill from vessel operations.

Learn more about our safe marine operations and emergency preparedness.