By Herbert Vesley
Published: Nov 11, 2014
Local media provided extensive coverage on the proposed LNG plant and candidates for council have taken so-so positions. Some want to wait for the LNG committee findings before giving us their position. This is a safe route in an election campaign but not a reasonable one, I suggest.
Enough information is out there that a Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline is hazardous and the number of accidents in North America are astounding for anyone who wants to google: ‘natural gas pipeline accidents in North America’. One finds information on the 2010 explosion of a 30 inch gas pipeline near San Francisco that killed 8 and destroyed about 35 homes. Plus 110 odd accidents in the US and Canada involving Natural Gas line ruptures and explosions over the period of 2000 to 2013.
Given that BC Law and Regulations places no restrictions on locating Gas Transmission Pipelines within residential neighbourhoods and the proposed tentative Fortis route and that available research defines the minimum setback at 660 feet, shouldn’t Council take the initiative for a strong position with the Provincial Government, notwithstanding that final decision lies with the Provincial Government.
But the DOS leave itself open to huge liabilities if strong objections to the pipeline route are not put forward and equally, if future residential subdivisions are allowed in the vicinity of this pipeline. Such an error already was made in the past here in Squamish!
Will increasing the pipeline wall thickness in urban areas really make it withstand the earth quake that is anticipated for our area?
Internal pipeline testing alone does not ensure safety. A Tennessee 30-inch Gas Pipeline failed at Natchitoches, Louisiana on November 30, 2010. There was no fire, but the pipeline had a Magnetic Flux smart pig test earlier in the year that indicated no flaws in the pipeline.
The Gas Research Institute and C-FER Technologies 2000 specify a hazard setback of 660 feet for a 24 inch pipeline.
What alternative routes that would avoid urban areas such as Squamish but would involve additional costs have been considered by Fortis to determine if the LNG project would still be viable?
Fortis may be the most diligent of pipeline owners with high standards for maintenance. The existing 10 inch transmission line through Squamish has changed ownership twice in the past 8 years. What guarantee do we have that Fortis will still own the pipeline in 10 or 20 years?
Has council given any consideration how they would evacuate Brennan Park filled with children in the event of a pipeline accident? Lake Megantic comes to my mind.