In 2016 the Whatcom County Council passed a moratorium on permitting for new projects related to fossil fuels in the Cherry Point Industrial Zone. At the same time the Council also approved spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a study to stop the expansion (growth) or exports of fossil fuels from these facilities, too. The focus of that study was on increased oil car train traffic and public safety vs. the Council’s ability to interfere in the transportation corridors needed for commerce.
With the recent news from Alberta, Canada’s purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, will the County Council spend more tax dollars to study how to stop an expansion of the pipeline through Whatcom and Skagit counties? Can local governments shut down private commerce? Only time will tell.
This is a piece of the much larger acquisition of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, announced last month. An option to more than double the capacity of the small Washington spur line would create the potential for exports from the state — and huge pushback.
By Hal Bernton, Seattle Times staff reporter
The Canadian government has purchased a vital link in Washington’s oil network — a nearly 70-mile pipeline spur running through Whatcom and Skagit counties that feeds crude oil to four refineries, according to financial-disclosure documents.
This is a piece of the much larger acquisition of the Trans Mountain Pipeline — announced May 29 — that runs more than 700 miles from Edmonton, Alberta, to tidewater at Burnaby, British Columbia.
The sale by Houston-based Kinder Morgan to the Canadian government is expected to improve the prospects for a $5.4 billion pipeline expansion strongly supported in Alberta but fiercely opposed in British Columbia and Washington state due to the risks of oil spills and the broader climate impacts of boosting production of crude extracted from oil sands.
The expansion would nearly triple the flow capacity through the Canadian mainline pipeline so that oil could be exported from Burnaby to California and Asia. But there also is an option — noted earlier this year in a Kinder Morgan financial-disclosure document — to more than double the capacity of the small Washington spur line. That would create the potential for exports from Washington, where tankers have a more direct path to the open ocean than those departing from Burnaby. (continue reading)