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Ottawa, October 26, 2016 —

 

Doctors from across Canada called on the federal government today to conduct a Cumulative Health Impact Assessment for the Kinder Morgan pipeline before making a decision on the Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project. Speaking from the steps of the This call to action accompanied the release of a new report that highlights the human health risks of Kinder Morgan’s proposal.

“The cumulative health impacts of the Kinder Morgan pipeline need to be reviewed, and not by the pipeline company, before any decision is made.”

“The Kinder Morgan pipeline would double the number of fuel storage tanks on Burnaby Mountain, creating an unacceptable risk of acute and long term health effects from asthma to cancer in the event of a fire,” said Dr. Tim Takaro, a doctor and professor at Simon Fraser University, referencing the health report. “The cumulative health impacts of the Kinder Morgan pipeline need to be reviewed, and not by the pipeline company, before any decision is made. It has never been clearer that this is the wrong fossil fuel infrastructure project for our time.”

The report outlines potential long and short term health impacts from the proposed pipeline. If approved, the communities along the pipeline and tanker routes would face a triple threat: 1) they would be exposed to routine toxic emissions from the tank farm and pumping station; 2) they would face exposure to dangerous levels of benzene gas and other toxins if there is spill or
leak; and 3) they would face climate change impacts that would deteriorate public health as laid out by the World Health Organization.

“As a Pediatric Emergency physician, I am concerned about the children who live near the Kinder Morgan pipeline,”

“As a Pediatric Emergency physician, I am concerned about the children who live near the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” says Ottawa-based MD Dr. Curtis Lavoie. “Shipping toxic diluent through their neighbourhoods creates an unacceptable health risk. We need an independent, cumulative Health Impact Assessment of the risks before we take this leap.”

Kinder Morgan’s proposal to build a second pipeline through BC will result in a 10-fold increase in their transportation of diluted bitumen, and a 7-fold increase in tanker traffic through the Salish Sea. Diluted bitumen contains known toxins that create major health risks within exposed populations, particularly the Burnaby communities closest to Westridge Marine Terminal and Kinder Morgan’s tank farm. Yet, as of today, no independent review of health impacts has been completed for this proposal.

Yet, as of today, no independent review of health impacts has been completed for this proposal.

“As an MD who is serving a patient population coping with temperatures 2-3 degrees warmer than in the 1950s, I can tell you that climate impacts are real. My patients describe dangerous unstable ice, food shortages from declines in caribou, and stress from dealing with the changes they have seen in the landscape,” said Dr. Courtney Howard, working in Yellowknife. “Approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion would be a dangerous step away from the healthy climate we need to leave our kids.”

“Human health impacts are distressing and have been overlooked in the assessment of this pipeline proposal. Neither the National Energy Board nor any other independent review has looked at health impacts when considering bringing bitumen through Vancouver’s harbour,” said Karen Mahon, Director of Stand.earth.

Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to announce his decision on Kinder Morgan’s application to build another pipeline around December 19th. The company proposes to transport 890,000 barrels of diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Burnaby every day, loading onto an Aframax tanker from Burnaby’s Westridge Terminal for delivery to Asia.

Opposition to the Kinder Morgan project for health and other reasons includes 22 municipalities, 61 First Nations, 180,000 petition signers and the mayors of Burnaby, Vancouver, and Victoria.