Posts Tagged ‘Enbridge’

Environmental group says documents confirm tar sands oil will be pumped east for export
by Tim Groves
Originally posted at toronto.mediacoop.ca

Enbridge has filed documents with the National Energy Board (NEB) asking for the second phase of permission for their plan to reverse the flow of an existing pipeline that runs between Sarnia and Montreal.

The group Environmental Defence, says that documents that Enbridge recently filed with the NEB confirm suspicions that the pipeline company is trying to pump tar sands oil to the East Coast for export – a claim that Enbridge has previously denied.

“The public has been kept in the dark about the full scale of Enbridge’s plans all along. Given the company’s track record of oil spills and failure to come clean about its plans, why should the Canadian public trust them now?” said Adam Scott, a spokes person for Environmental Defence. “Enbridge’s plan could put the drinking water of millions of people at risk of a tar sands oil spill, all in the name of exporting more raw tar sands oil.”

The Enbridge paper work, filed on October 10th, is for the second phase of their proposal to reverse a pipeline known as Line 9. If approved this will allow Enbridge to pump the dirty oil between Hamilton and Montreal. Earlier this year the NEB approved the reversal of a section of Line 9 that runs between Sarnia and Hamilton.

“Enbridge’s plan to increase the volume of oil shipped through Line 9 to 300,000 barrels per day suggests this is about exporting raw oil, not domestic refining jobs,” asserts Environmental Defence in a press release. They contend that the purpose of the pipeline is to pump Tar Sand oil to the East Coast for export.

“The current Line 9 leaves those of us along the route with the choice of whether to accept more of this devastation, or to step up and try to reverse it”said Toban Black, an environmental justice organizer based out of Kitchener.

“The fossil fuel industry will expand by any means possible if it is not dismantled.”

He is part of a growing grassroots resistance to the pipeline project in First Nations and cities along the route of the pipeline.

“What is crucial right now is informing the public about the threats to Ontario, Québec, and the Great Lakes. The issues with this pipeline are not well-known, so people can’t decide whether they want to oppose it,” Black told the Toronto Media Co-op in an email.

“We must find ways to oppose this project in localities along the route.”

According to Enbridge the pipeline passes through or near these 115 communities.

Tim Groves is an investigative researcher and journalist based in Toronto. He can be reached at timgrovesreports [@] gmail.com. For more information on his work and writing, click here.

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Wednesday morning council received the staff report on Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline reversal, as well as hearing from citizens on the issue. A few dozen protesters rallied first along Main St in front of City Hall, then filed inside the gallery. No conclusions were reached, but a very interesting discussion ensued, with staff sent to research further about the pipeline and possibilities for opposing it.

Though Enbridge decided to cancel at the last minute, eight citizens stepped up to address council, all opposed to the project. John McGreal spoke about the legacy of Binbrook’s oil spill a decade ago, which burst from Line 10. Ken Stone floated legal ideas, such as banning pipelines over 30 years old, the transmission of tar sands oil or requring it to be upgraded and refined in Canada. Janet Chase floated the possibility of requiring a bond from Enbridge, an idea which seemed to gain a lot of traction with councillors. Maggie Hughes (The Other Side on CFMU) showed footage and talked about the legacy of the Kalamazoo dilbit spill. Elysia Petrone (Hamilton 350) spoke about Harper’s budget omnibus bill exempting this project from environmental assessments. Don McLean (CATCH, Hamilton 350) and Lynda Lukasik (Environment Hamilton) spoke about the connections to the Tar Sands and climate change, especially given the enormous cost we’re now suffering from the recent wave of severe storms and flooding. Wes Elliot, Ruby Montour (Six Nations) and Danielle Boisseau were unable to attend.

Reaction from councillors was mixed, but honestly better than I’d expected. Brenda Johnson asked if there were options to challenge the reversal at the Ontario Municipal Board or Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as asking about permits for current digs to check pipeline integrity. Maria Pearson suggested making a statement for the record, even if council’s hands were “tied”. Judi Partridge raised questions about the Emergency Plan and Brian McHattie raised again the issue of environmental assessments. Lloyd Ferguson suggested getting a professional engineer’s opinion, and stated that Enbridge had told him the pipeline’s oil wouldn’t be coming from Alberta. Mayor Bratina’s comments were perhaps most poignant, pointed a finger at Harper then brought the issue back to our own practices and suggesting that if we really wished to stop this kind of oil flow, we should look into an urban boundary freeze and end Aerotropolis plans (both good suggestions, even if they avoid the issue). Staff responded that so far, proposals haven’t mentioned “dilbit” or pressures capable of transporting it, and that there’s few options on the table to obstruct Enbridge, even if council should decide to. At the end, discussions broke for lunch, unresolved, with staff sent to research further.

Given the current climate in Federal politics, it isn’t surprising that municipalities are shut almost entirely out of these matters. Despite all the public and private lands this pipeline crosses in our city, there’s no meaningful consultation council or residents. In these matters, the National Energy Board seemingly holds all the power. This is the legacy of the “streamlined” approval processes Harper is implementing, and we’re now getting to see first-hand what that means for public input in the communities involved. Whoever makes these decisions, we’ll still be the ones to suffer if anything goes wrong.

While I still hold out a little hope for a sympathetic motion from council, it’s fairly clear at this point that municipal politicians are just as out-of-the-loop as the rest of us. Addressing council, though, was still was an important step. Not only did it bring some much-needed attention, but also showed that opponents are willing to engage with “the system” where possile. Most of all, it was an important demonstration of how much authority has been given to Enbridge and the NEB, effectively cutting entire municipalities out of the process. If opposition is going to continue (and it will), it must now look toward the grassroots. Ordinary people are not limited by the rules of intergovernmental hierarchies, and a motion from Council would mean little, anyway, without a much broader show of community support. This pipeline has seen very little public discussion so far, and most people still aren’t aware it cuts through our backyard. The tasks ahead are education, investigation, networking and ever-more demonstrations (like this Sunday’s protest ride) to raise the issue’s profile, both within Hamilton and beyond. Like the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, this route can be stopped, and it will be, if cities like Hamilton decide to stand against it.

Originally posted on undustrialism.com/

Rally This Wednesday

Posted: October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

9am, Wednesday October 17th
Hamilton City Hall (Main st, between Bay and McNab)
Join us for a half-hour rally before your workday starts

On Wednesday October 17, the General Issues Committee (GIC) of the Hamilton city council will be receiving a report from their staff about Enbridge’s reversal of their Line 9 pipeline. Line 9 runs through Hamilton and is being reversed to move Tar Sands oil to eastern Canada, ports on the Atlantic, and the United States. After the Conservative federal government cancelled the envrionmental assessment of this plan (along with thousands of other EAs), Hamilton city council decided to commission their own study of the issue.

We are optimistic about the council’s decision to study the Line 9 reversal, and we are gathering on the 17th at 9am to ask council to do everything in their power to oppose the Line 9 reversal and any attempt to move Tar Sands oil through the Hamilton area. We will rally until about 9:30, then attend the meeting of the GIC to support the speakers calling on council to oppose the Line 9 reversal. A representative from Enbridge had been scheduled to address council as well, but after twice changing the date, they have now backed out all together. This is a continuation of
Enbridge’s plan of secrecy and dishonesty, as they refuse to reveal their full plan for Line 9.

The Tar Sands produces the dirtiest oil in the world – its extraction has devastated the Athabaska river, and accidents in transporting the toxic gloop have lead to more than a dozen deaths in Michigan, following a
pipeline burst into Michigan’s Kalamazoo river. All pipelines spill. If Tar Sands oil travels down Line 9, this thirty-five year-old pipeline will experience more frequent leaks of more toxic oil directly into the Beverly
Swamp in the headwaters of the Spencer Creek, Hamilton’s largest watershed.

This dirty, inefficient oil also drives the catastrophic climate change, of which Hamilton got a taste this past summer with the record-breaking heat and drought. We also call for the Federal government to respect the sovereignty and treaty rights of Indigenous nations, both in Alberta and locally. Line 9 crosses the territory of the Haudenosaunee, and in the spirit of the Two Row wampum treaty, we call on the municipal government to help see these treaties upheld.

We organize in Hamilton as part of a broader movement to stop the flows of Tar Sands oil, of the natural gas that fuels its extraction, and the money that props the industry up. This movement did not begin with Hamilton’s council and it will not end with it. But this is a chance for Hamilton’s government to be on the right side of this issue and to lend their support to the grassroots struggles that will keep stopping the Line 9 reversal and the Tar Sands – with or without them.

Please Pass Along