Enbridge Line 9 Reversal

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Undemocratic rules create barrier to public participation in upcoming pipeline hearings

The following is derived from a press release sent out jointly on April 5, 2013 by Environmental Defence and Greenpeace

New undemocratic rules are creating a barrier to public participation in upcoming National Energy Board (NEB) hearings into the proposal for Enbridge’s Line 9 oil pipeline. For the first time, members of the public who want to send a letter with comments to the NEB about a pipeline project must first apply for permission to participate – by filling out a 10-page form that includes a request for a resume and references. 

This problematic new process stems from federal Bill C-38 – the omnibus budget bill last spring that gutted federal environmental laws. Enbridge’s proposal for its Line 9 pipeline could allow dangerous tar sands oil to be shipped east through an aging pipeline that crosses some of the most heavily populated parts of Ontario and Quebec. This is the first new pipeline proposal to be up for approval since Bill C-38 passed last year.

“The new rules are undemocratic. They attempt to restrict the public’s participation in these hearings and prevent a real dialogue about the environmental impacts of the Line 9 pipeline project,” said Adam Scott of Environmental Defence. “Canadians should not have to apply for permission to have their voices heard on projects that carry serious risks to their communities.”

Why old pipelines fail

published in Inside Climate News, (http://insideclimatenews.org) Apr 3, 2013

Original Source - US Dept of Transportation

Weak environmental 'assessment' on original pipeline application - 1975

When the current Enbridge Line 9 pipeline was built in the mid-seventies, it was with the backdrop of the mid-east oil crisis and the federal government wanted the pipeline built in order to ensure access by eastern Canada to western crude oil. Interprovincial Pipelines (the forerunner to Enbridge) wasn't convinced there was enough oil to make the pipeline profitable and so the federal government even agreed to cover any operating losses in order to make it happen.

The National Energy Board approved the project after 6 days of hearings in May 1974, 2 days of hearings in October and a further day in April 1975. Many aspects of the project were considered of which the environment was one. 22 out of the 54 pages in the decision are devoted to the environment but it has to be noted that this includes agricultural disruptions as well. Most of those 22 pages are devoted to the quite small section of the line between the Quebec border and the refineries in Montreal. In fact environmental considerations for the Ontario section were quite weak. Here is a telling paragraph from the decision:

Lot more questions than answers on Line 9

I started this list of questions back a few weeks ago. I have found answers for some of them and I have added those. I also continue to add questions. If you have questions, email them to me at doug@durhamclear.ca and i will add them to the list.

If DurhamCLEAR gets intervenor status at the NEB hearings this list could form the basis of our questioning.

Line 9 thru Durham

The route of Line 9 runs roughly between Taunton Rd and Hwy 7/Winchester until it gets into Clarington where it falls below Taunton.

I drove up Hwy 12 in Whitby yesterday to see if I could find it, and it is marked at the side of the road with markers like:



Note the soggy conditions. This is just N of Groveside cemetary.

The markers appear to be only on one side of the road.

On Coronation Rd the markers looked like this:

Along the way I found many signs for natural gas pipelines but after I'd seen about 10 of them I realized that most were in front of houses and they were likely just residential feedlines. They look quite similar.

Along the hydro right of way that the Enbridge pipeline was following I found another oil pipeline labelled the Trans-northern pipeline. Apparantly this is for refined oil running from Nanticoke to Montreal. It's markers were slightly different.

Some of the terrain is quite irregular and I wonder whether the pipe goes up and down with the terrain. For it to run straight in an area like this, it would have to be about 30 feet deep.

When the snow is gone and things are a bit drier, we need to track the line across the numerous creek beds to see if any of it is sticking out like Adam found on the Rouge River.

What you can do about Line 9

  1. Attend our public information meeting on Thurs. Mar. 21 at Ajax Town Hall - see full info below.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the route. (click for detailed maps)
  3. You can review Enbridge's application at www.neb-one.gc.ca under Major Applications and Projects:
    Enbridge Pipelines Inc. – Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project. (right hand side of the page). It is apparently also available at the Oshawa Public Library.
  4. Send comments to the NEB before Mar. 21 concerning the List of Issues that they will consider at the hearings. There's not much time for this as your comments must be received by the board by noon on the 21st as well as a hard copy served on Enbridge.
  5. Send a letter or email to the NEB requesting an Information Session - the more requests they get, the more likely they will hold one here in Durham Region. "These sessions are intended to assist people to better understand and participate in a Board hearing process, but are not a forum for discussing the merits or substance of the application. Persons interested in future sessions should contact the Process Advisor."

    Michael Benson, Process Advisor
    National Energy Board
    Telephone 403-299-1992 or at the toll free number 1-800-899-1265
    Email Michael.Benson@neb-one.gc.ca

A New 38-year-old Environmental Concern

Did you know that there was an oil pipeline running clear across Durham Region from Pickering to Clarington? Line 9, as it is known, has been there for 38 years carrying conventional crude oil between refineries in Sarnia to Montreal.

for more info on Line 9, see Derek Leahy's article under Current Issues

However, Enbridge (the owner) has now applied to the National Energy Board to allow the pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Alberta, which is heavier, more viscous and more corrosive than conventional crude. Can an old pipeline handle it?

DurhamCLEAR is hosting a public information meeting on the subject:

Thursday, March 21, 7pm
Council Chambers - Town of Ajax Municipal Building, 65 harwood Ave. S.
guest speaker from Environmental Defense
Everyone Welcome

click on the graphic at right for a printable flyer/poster

Top of mind in any discussion of this pipeline is the rupture in 2010 of a similar Enbridge owned pipeline which spilled more than 3 million litres of heavy crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Almost 3 years and more than $750 million later, the cleanup continues and parts of the Kalamazoo River remain closed.

The major concern of this pipeline across Durham is that it crosses  numerous creeks and rivers flowing into Lake Ontario.

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