Canada mulls Trans Mountain pipeline build

July 30, 2013 at 7:48 AM

CALGARY, Alberta, July 30 (UPI) -- A Canadian energy regulator said it would not review the impact of oil sands development in considering the need for expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Pipeline company Kinder Morgan has considered expanding its Trans Mountain oil pipeline to increase its volume from 300,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to British Columbia to 890,000 bpd. Kinder submitted a project description to the National Energy Board in May but hasn't yet filed a formal regulatory application for the project.

The NEB announced it was releasing its list of issues related to the project proposal. It said it would consider the need for the project, its impact on landowners and the potential impact of increased maritime activity off the British Columbia coast.

"The list of issues does not include effects associated with the development of oil sands or the downstream uses of oil," the regulator said in a statement Monday.

Oil sands are considered more carbon-intensive to produce than conventional oil.

The provincial government in British Columbia has expressed concern about pipeline expansion projects in the region. Any spills in the region would harm the pristine environment and create long-term problems for aboriginal communities, it says.

Kinder in June said a "small defect" in the existing pipeline resulted in a spill of 20 to 25 barrels of oil.

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