Line 9 hearings move to Toronto; Enbridge feeling the heat.

The final oral arguments on Enbridge's Line 9 oil pipeline began last week in Montreal and will finish up in Toronto this week

 

Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building
222 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Wed. Oct 16 - Sat. Oct 19, 9:00am - 6pm
Our submission will be made either late Wednesday (the 16th) or early Thursday (the 17th) depending on the length of preceding submissions
Listen in online - see link below

Hearings are being streamed live (audio only) over the internet at
http://www.meetview.com/neb/index.php?enter

 

Enbridge made two important concessions to its critics in its opening statement. They announced they would add 17 new valves to the line (a 50% increase). Two of those valves will be in Durham Region, one near Anderson St. in Whitby and one near Hwy 35/115 in Clarington. 

Also, in response to criticism of its inadequate emergency response plans, they announced "the establishment of a pipeline maintenance work crew in Mississauga commencing in the third quarter of 2014. This crew would provide emergency response to any pipeline incident in the Greater Toronto Area."

These concessions are welcome but they fall well short of what is needed.

We contend that Enbridge's claims of safety and environmental sustainability are not justified by its record and that the changes proposed in Enbridge's application to reverse the flow and increase its capacity would be a serious risk to Durham Region and should not be approved without considerable improvements.

Our concerns are:

  • Pipeline integrity: Our own questions and those of other intervenors have uncovered numerous problems such as untreated corrosion. We are asking that the pipe should be rebuilt to new 'modern' standards and that much more robust monitoring programs be put in place to ensure safety.
  • Environmental Assessment: We also believe that a full environmental assessment is required. In our investigations we have found no evidence that such as assessment was undertaken when it was first built in 1975 and nothing since. This is a particular concern because Durham Region has a higher concentration of water crossings than any other stretch of 9B. There are currently only 2 valves in Durham with 85,300 barrels of oil between them.
  • Inadequate emergency response: Enbridge has its spill response teams in Belleville and Waterloo and admit that it will take a minimum of 90 minutes to respond to a spill in Durham. This is a concern cited by many intervenors.
  • Inadequate leak detection: Enbridge has admitted that their much touted computerized leak detection will not detect a leak under 3.7 barrels per minute. They also admitted that 30% of all leaks are first reported by 3rd parties from odours and oil slicks. Far more sensitive leak detection systems are available but the pipeline industry doesn't use them because they cost money. We are asking the NEB to require Enbridge (and all pipeline companies) to install systems which will detect even small leaks in real time.
  • Dilbit: Dilbit is a mixture of bitumen (heaviest grade of crude oil - consistency of honey) which is more corrosive than regular crude oil, and a light volatile diluent which is highly flammable, explosive and an inhalation hazard. Not wanted in Durham!