Re: Don't take chance on tankers, letter to the editor, June 17
To help ensure the airlines serving Vancouver International Airport (YVR) can operate effectively, they require access to a reliable and competitively-priced fuel supply, which will increasingly require offshore sources.
In his letter, Jim Ronback states that "pipelines exist or could be built to existing refineries in B.C. and Washington state..." He also raises concerns about tanker traffic on the Fraser River, and the proximity of our fuel receiving facility to residential neighbourhoods.
YVR is currently served by a 42-year-old pipeline from the only operating refinery in the Lower Mainland, which can only meet 40 per cent of current demand. A second pipeline to the next closest refinery in Washington state would bring that total to more than 110 kilometres of dedicated pipeline, while still not providing access to offshore supply.
Our proposed project includes only a 15-kilometre pipeline, and provides access to a broader range of supply alternatives in an ever declining market in B.C. and Western Canada. Refining capacity in Western Canada has decreased while the region continues to grow in population.
There are many examples of Panamax-sized vessels currently using the Fraser River and fuel cargo, mostly bunker oil for fuelling ships, regularly transits on the river.
Port Metro Vancouver is undertaking a tanker risk analysis to assess if and how bulk fuel handling can be undertaken safely on the Fraser River, the outcome of which will affect the decision process on this project. It has been made a condition of the federal approval required for the Environmental Assessment Certificate.
Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation's risk analysis has demonstrated this risk is low, and we are confident the port's analysis will draw the same conclusion. There are many factors that are favourable in the Fraser River environment, including the predictability of wind, wave, tide, and current conditions, sedimentary geomorphology, professional pilotage of vessels, modern vessel construction and vessel vetting by the terminal owner.
The proposed fuel receiving facility will be located on land zoned for industrial use over half a kilometre from the nearest residences. It will be designed in compliance to Canadian Standards Association, National Fire Code and Federal Storage Tank regulations, and controlled and monitored by on-site operations personnel during all offloading, fuel transfer and fuel handling activities.
There are also many examples in the Lower Mainland of similar facilities much closer to residential neighbourhoods, which co-exist without incident.
The new fuel delivery project will be safe and reliable, and will have a smaller environmental footprint than the current fuel delivery infrastructure, most noticeably through the removal of more than 1,000 tanker trucks a month from our roads.
Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation