As Trans Mountain changes hands, Coldwater couple not sure who will clean up lingering oil spill
It’s been four years since Janice Antoine and Percy Joe first learned about an oil spill on their land, after a so-called anomaly was discovered in the Trans Mountain pipeline that runs beneath the couple’s property on the Coldwater Reserve near Merritt, B.C.
Now with the federal government purchasing the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion as part of an expansion project, the couple is wondering who to turn to as they continue to wait for the land to be cleaned up.
“I don’t know what the way forward is and how we can get this cleaned up and sorted out,” said Antoine. “And I don’t even know who we talk to now.”
The spill — which Kinder Morgan calls a “small, contained historic contamination” — was discovered in 2014 during routine maintenance work.
At the time, Antoine recalls being told it was just a “small technical issue.”
A few weeks later, she learned it was actually an underground oil spill dating back to 1968, when the pipeline was rerouted, and it had been contaminating the land for more than 40 years.
Antoine, an elementary school principal, raised her family on the 42-hectare property with her late husband. The family grew crops there, raised cattle and drew water for both their farm and household from a well in their yard.
“If it’s been there since 1968 … then how bad of a contamination was there at that time?” said Joe. “How is it impacting our health? We don’t know.”
With the contaminated soil still in the ground and remediation work stalled, Antoine and Joe wonder if they are being sidelined due to political and legal disputes over the expansion project, which is strongly opposed by the Coldwater Band. – CBC News
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I guess its our problem them now. I wonder how much it will cost to fix the leak and remove and replace all of the contaminated soil? My guess is it will cost millions. Do we own any equipment needed to do that kind of work? My guess is no. No we don’t.
I know! We can hire Kinder Morgan to fix the leak and clean up the mess. We can give them millions more of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars to fix something they should have fixed decades ago. A repair and spills clean up that should have been done at their own cost.
Why did the pipeline owners fix this problem decades ago? Who let them get away with this?