Opinion: Trans Mountain opponents are spreading a debunked conspiracy theory

Chris Campbell

There are plenty of reasons to oppose the Trans Mountain project in Burnaby.

Here, I’ll even give you a list:

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Take your pick.

But there’s one unfounded allegation that continues to be used by pipeline opponents and it’s got to stop because it’s weakening their credibility.

It’s the insinuation that Trans Mountain has been violating some sort of order to do work in Burnaby, especially at the tank farm site.

During roughly the past six months – really ever since the NEB was ordered to reconsider its assessment of TMX – people have been emailing me conspiracy theories about Trans Mountain doing “illegal” work at the tank farm. These folks have been sending me photos of equipment and rows of pipe on the property with wild claims that Trans Mountain isn’t allowed to do this.

Just this week, in a posting by Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, there’s a line about pipeline work “ongoing at the tank farm on Burnaby Mountain even during the quashing of TMX’s injunction and a stop work order.”

Well, I’d like to once again attempt to clear this up. According to the NEB, there are two orders authorizing the pipeline company to relocate and decommission pipes at its Burnaby Mountain facility. The orders in question allow Trans Mountain to install 1.6 kilometres of new piping and to decommission 1.3 km of pipe.

“The decision enables the company to continue its ongoing work to modify existing piping and related infrastructure within the facility,” read an NEB statement released in January of this year. 

The City of Burnaby even got its lawyers involved, asking the NEB to quash the permits. That request was rejected by the NEB, which has investigated the work and concluded that it is within the scope of the permits.

This is the work the company has been doing. I’ve repeatedly told this to pipeline opponents who have contacted me, but they refuse to accept the truth – which shows an embarrassing level of wilful ignorance.

They stand and look outside of the tank farm and claim they know the work is not what is permitted. They also dismiss anything the NEB says, which is a convenient way to spin conspiracies. But the fact is, the NEB has given them permission so stop saying they don't have it.

I have a lot of time for Trans Mountain opposition based on the points listed above. What I don’t have time for is the deliberate spreading of misinformation.

Stick with the facts and not conspiracies. You’ll gain a lot more supporters that way.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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