Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Ottawa Riverkeeper, Lake Erie Waterkeeper and the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper/Save the River have submitted joint comments on Enbridge's Line 9 reversal proposal. Read the full submission here.
Line 9 is a 762 km long pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge Pipelines Inc. [Enbridge]. It runs from Sarnia to Montreal, passing through the Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Ottawa River, and St. Lawrence River watersheds. First operated in 1976, the pipeline was designed to flow eastward from Sarnia to Montreal. In 1999, the NEB approved a reversal that switched the flow westward, from Montreal to Sarnia, to bring imported crude oil into central and western Canada. Reversing the “Line 9A” portion, between Sarnia and Westover, was the subject of a separate approval process and was approved by the NEB on July 27, 2012.
Enbridge now seeks approval to reverse the rest of Line 9, known as Line 9B. This is the 639 km-long section of Line 9 between North Westover Station and Montreal Terminal. Enbridge is also seeking approval to increase the capacity of the pipeline by 60,000 barrels per day, and to allow the pipeline to carry heavy crude oil in the form of diluted bitumen. This will allow Enbridge to transport heavy crude from Alberta and the U.S. Bakken Region to refineries in places like Quebec and eastern Canada.
The four groups submit the following:
- Leaks or spills from Line 9 have the potential to cause serious and irreversible harm to the environment.
- Pipeline breaches can occur for a variety of reasons, allowing material to enter the environment.
- Enbridge has a record of failing to prevent major leaks and spills and failing to respond to spills in a timely manner.
- Leaks or spills from this pipeline can and should be prevented.
- Enbridge must be held accountable for any leaks or spills from this pipeline.
Detailed information regarding each point can be found here.
- Replace the existing pipeline with thicker pipe or reducing the diameter of the pipeline in order to improve the D/t ratio.
- Use double insulated pipeline, either along the entire length of Line 9, or at a minimum, wherever the pipeline meets a waterbody, wetland, or sensitive area of any size.
- Install best available technology to detect leaks sooner and at smaller volumes than the current system allows.
- Locate automatic and remote control shutoff valves in close proximity to one another to minimize the volume of spills, should they occur.
- Locate shutoff valves on either side (upstream and downstream) of every waterbody or wetland crossed by the pipeline.
- Ensure that activities intended to improve or modify the pipeline do not have negative environmental impacts.
- Guarantee that Enbridge assumes full financial and legal liability for all clean-up, remediation, and monitoring required in the event of a leak or spill of any size to the environment.