NDP gives thumbs down to southern oil pipeline

Provincial leader Adrian Dix fears Vancouver oil port expansion

NDP leader Adrian Dix has indicated he won’t support the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby.

Announcing his environment policy in Kamloops Monday, Dix stuck with his long-standing position that Kinder Morgan Canada must formally apply to twin its 60-year-old pipeline before he offers an opinion on it. But he added that he would not support a “five- or six-fold” increase in oil tanker traffic from the company’s Westridge Marine Terminal shipping facility.

Vancouver should not become a “major export oil port,” Dix said.

Kinder Morgan is in the preliminary stages of applying for permits to nearly triple the capacity of its pipeline to about 850,000 barrels a day of crude oil. A company spokesman said last year that would mean more than 300 tankers a year traveling Burrard Inlet.

That would be a steep increase over the current traffic. Increased export demand for Alberta oil sands crude brought a high of 69 tankers to Burnaby in 2010, but just 32 tankers were loaded in 2011.

The NDP has opposed the competing Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, which would carry Alberta oil sands crude to an export terminal at Kitimat.

The B.C. Liberals have demanded five conditions for any expansion of heavy oil pipelines across B.C., including “world class” land and marine spill response capacity and a “fair share” of economic benefits.