Adrian Pollard, director of the Vancouver Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC), states that the marine terminal, 80 million litre storage facility and pipeline (15 km upstream on the banks of the Fraser River) are ". undergoing a rigorous environmental assessment process that will ensure the project provides a safe and environmentally responsible solution."
B.C.'s Auditor General has just slammed the Environmental Assessment Office for being toothless. "Adequate monitoring and enforcement of certified projects is not occurring and follow-up evaluations are not being conducted," said Auditor General John Doyle. "EAO's oversight isn't sufficient to ensure compliance and enforcement, or to avoid significant adverse impacts."
In addition, this project did not initially qualify for environmental assessment, demonstrating that something is very broken in the system of checks and balances that our regulatory bodies are supposed to have. Plus, the federal government body Port Metro also has the power to approve and profit from this project, a clear conflict of interest. Richmond Fire Rescue and city hall have significant concerns about this project and I have not seen any evidence that VAFFC is addressing those concerns other than the recent no-brainer decision to look at moving the pipeline route out of residential communities to the Highway 99 right-of-way.
VAFFC has determined that any jet fuel spill will simply evaporate. In the event of a significant spill, what would be the implications of rapidly evaporating aerosol spreading through shoreline communities as the spill moves downstream? Just because it evaporates doesn't mean it disappears!
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, jet fuel also contains toxic additives that do not evaporate (antioxidants, antistatic agents, corrosion inhibitors, anti-freeze, and biocides). These chemicals can sink and contaminate sediments and jet fuel can contaminate soil for over 10 years.
Of the 14 options VAFFC very briefly outlined, the Marine Terminal is nowhere near the safest or environmentally responsible solution. However, a low cost and most likely safest to humanity and the environment option (out of the 14) is a 70 km pipeline to the Cherry Point Refinery. VAFFC identifies that pipeline length, cross-border jurisdictional problems and worries that one of the two local refineries could have a breakdown.
As a solution to local refineries and Alberta oil, they want to ship jet fuel from south-east Asia.
The pipelines option may even cost less to construct than the Marine Terminal and several cross border pipelines exist including ones that go from Alberta to the two local refineries including that at Cherry Point. I don't hear SeaTac airport complaining about its 160 km long pipeline to Cherry Point. Plus both Cherry Point and Chevron in Burnaby already have marine terminals. Cherry Point's new marine terminal has the added benefit that the tankers do not have navigate narrow waterways like the Georgia Strait, Burrard Inlet or the Fraser River.
If VAFFC is keen on importing offshore jet fuel why can they not arrange for such fuel to be brought to Cherry Point and piped to YVR? I think that would put YVR in the enviable position of the safest (to people and the environment) fuel access to two refineries and two marine terminals and it would keep fuel tankers out the Fraser River estuary and reduce tanker traffic into Burrard Inlet.
The only reason I can see for not choosing this option is profit, not wanting to pay to use a third party terminal, a small amount of profit for a large amount of risk.
VAFFC knows what the right thing to do is: just do it and stop wasting everyone's time.