Last week, the Richmond jet fuel pipeline plan was given the green light by the province. An environmental assessment certificate was given to the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC) for the project.
The project would have a 13 kilometre pipeline built to connect the south arm of the Fraser River to the airport. In addition, a marine terminal and storage facility would be built on the south arm near Riverport. The move will allow jet fuel tankers to transport fuel across the Fraser River.
Why The Richmond Jet Fuel Pipeline Plan Is Bad
It’s risky for the environment. Jet fuel is an extremely thin substance. It’s also incredibly damaging. Any expert will tell you that it will wipe out any living organism that it touches. So you can see why Richmondites were concerned about this proposal from the beginning. I’ll give you a few case study examples of how something similar to the Richmond jet fuel pipeline plan would be dangerous.
Now, there’s no question that fuel has to be transported to YVR. However, of the 14 options the VAFFC outlined, the one they chose (the one that was approved) was far from the safest option. The route that was chosen for the pipeline would threaten the idea of preserving any kind of an ecosystem. For my money, A Richmond jet fuel pipeline should’ve been in place and is. BUT the Richmond jet fuel pipeline plan that included a storage facility and tanker traffic is dangerous.
Even Environment Canada warned the VAFFC about the Richmond jet fuel pipeline proposal 2 years ago:
“The department does not share the same confidence as the proponent that the spill response plan would effectively and reliably protect the high ecological values and sensitivities of the estuary.”
And then again in 2012.
“Environment Canada agrees that using Panamax class tankers would result in fewer ships (though this could change with predicted increase demand over time); however, the consequences of a catastrophic spill would be much greater.”
Lemon Creek, BC experienced a jet fuel spill of their own earlier this year. 35,000 litres of jet fuel spilled into Lemon Creek. 2,500 people were told to evacuate their homes and 580 people checked into the emergency. A few days later, dead fish surfaced from the jet fuel spill.
A massive 2011 jet fuel fire in Miami has also given deep concern to Richmond residents. Those who support the Richmond jet fuel pipeline plan – essentially just VAFFC and the BC Provincial Government – have brushed off such concerns.
Plus, you know it’s bad when the fire department says it won’t be able to respond to a disaster of the magnitude that would result if a spill were to occur. That’s precisely what the Richmond Fire Department said.
A number of local officials are strongly opposed to the plan, including Mayor Malcolm Brodie, MLA Vicki Huntington and a number of Richmond City Councillors. After all, they should be. It’s part of their duty to protect Richmond as best they can. I’m no environmentalist but when a substance this damaging can affect our city, there shouldn’t be much opposition to a plan that cares little for the environment.
Have your say below? What’s your take on the proposal?