Councillors Raise Red Flags Over Massive Jet Fuel Terminal, Pipeline

For Immediate Release

April 12, 2010

A new jet fuel delivery project proposed for Richmond poses big questions for residents, and more than lip-service consultation is needed from authorities to prove the program’s benefits to the citizens of our city, said Richmond City Councillors Ken Johnston, Derek Dang, and Bill McNulty on the opening day of public consultation for the project by the Environmental Assessment Office of British Columbia.

“The proposed jet fuel delivery project will affect thousands of residents in our city and it’s been done under a whitewash of consultation,” said Councillor Ken Johnston. “This project has been flying under the radar for far too long and we believe now is the time it deserves to be brought to the full attention of the public.”

Over the last decade, the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC) has been exploring new delivery options to transport jet fuel to YVR. Today, 80% of the airport’s daily required jet fuel is piped in through the Upstream Fuel Delivery Pipeline in Burrard Inlet, while 20% is being trucked to Sea Island. This new proposal plans to replace both mechanisms by constructing a mega marine terminal on the south arm of the Fraser River with onsite above-ground storage tanks with a total capacity of 80 million litres, and a fifteen kilometer pipeline running the fuel through the City of Richmond to YVR.

“The people of Richmond have had their right to input virtually ignored while this demonstrative project is being steamrolled through,” said Councillor Derek Dang. “We’re talking about a hazardous fifteen kilometer jet fuel pipeline running through people’s neighbourhoods all the way from East Richmond to the Airport – this isn’t just another sewer line or electrical project.”

During a review of options for the project, VAFFC reviewed fourteen potential options to increase their fuel supply. The South Arm terminal and pipeline was chosen based on an impact assessment of all options on the table. The main reasons cited for selecting this option was that construction and operation costs would be lower than the city’s preferred option – the development of offshore vessel mooring on Sturgeon Bank, off Sea Island, and a pipeline to YVR. Even before entering into open public consultation, VAFFC purchased land for the marine terminal and storage tankers of their preferred option.

“It’s a dramatic change to have jet fuel tankers running daily through the South Arm of the Fraser right across from historic Steveston, our major commercial fishing marina, and our prime farm land,” said Councillor Bill McNulty. “The final jet fuel facility and transportation routes being discussed are long-term and will service YVR for decades to come, so we want to make sure the final option is the right one for both the airport and Richmond residents.”

The planned routing for the jet fuel pipeline will take it north from the new marina terminal along No 5 Rd, north on Shell Rd, and then cutting west through the Bridgeport community progressing to YVR.

“YVR has a right to grow and we’re proud to have them as a major employer in our city,” said Johnston. “But when this kind of project gets proposed, and not a single consultation session is held in the most affected area of East Richmond, red flags go up for me and they should for everyone else as well.”

The Environmental Assessment Office of British Columbia begins a comment period today running to midnight on May 27, 2010. More information about the consultations can be found online at http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca.

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