Kinder Morgan: Documentaries Are Not Media

Kinder Morgan media centre

Apparently documentary makers are not part of the media. At least, according to Kinder Morgan.

A couple of days ago I requested access to the media centre on the web site for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. The expansion will triple the existing pipeline capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day, and see tanker traffic off the coast of Metro Vancouver, Victoria and the Gulf Islands increase from 5 to 34 oil tankers per month.

The site says:

Welcome to our media centre. Please browse for the latest news, project updates and backgrounders. Photos and video b-roll are available for media. Click on the gallery below to request access or contact us: media@transmountain.com.

However, on requesting a password as a freelance journalist and documentary maker I got this response.

Our media centre assets are available for members of the press. Unfortunately we do not provide images for documentaries at this time.

Good luck with your film.

The email was signed by "Trans Mountain Expansion – Media Relations" - there was no individual name.

It's rare to get refused access to a media resource. Most PRs want to get their story out there. Clearly not in this instance.

As a private corporation Kinder Morgan is quite within its rights to pick and choose which members of the press have access to its media assets, but it's a nonsense to be saying out of the other side of your mouth that you pride yourself on being transparent.

Par for your course, you might say. There has been outrage over the public hearing process for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. The NEB hearings have been fast-tracked and do not allow for the discussion of climate change, even though the pipeline will triple its capacity. That's a lot of carbon.

Hundreds of submissions to the NEB process were refused - including 26 climate experts who then wrote an open letter expressing their frustration with the process.

Andrew Weaver, the only MLA granted intervenor status, has also criticised the hearings for not allowing oral cross examination of the company, unlike with the hearings for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. The questions in the Kinder Morgan hearings have to be in writing.

Given the wave of opposition to Kinder Morgan's project, it's not surprising that they (and here I mean the federal government as well) are trying to manage the message as much as they can.