March 6, 2014 (TORONTO) - The National Energy Board (NEB) has approved Enbridge’s application to reverse the flow and increase the capacity of the decades-old Line 9B pipeline.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is disappointed by the NEB’s decision. In our submission to the Board last summer, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper -- alongside Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Ottawa Riverkeeper, and Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper/Save the River -- outlined potential major impacts to the swimmability, drinkability, and fishability of lakes and rivers that the pipeline passes over. The NEB could have denied Enbridge’s application or approved it subject to terms and conditions that would protect the environment.
Today, the NEB approved the application with limited conditions - far fewer and far less stringent than Waterkeeper had expected.
“This is a disappointing decision from one of the last national environmental regulators. Canadians showed up for the hearing in record numbers. People tried to show they cared, but their arguments seem to fall on deaf ears. The result is a weak decision that doesn’t do enough to protect communities or waterways along the pipeline,” says Mark Mattson, President of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and an environmental lawyer.
Waterkeeper outlined seven recommendations that would help safeguard swimmable, drinkable, fishable water during the 2013 NEB hearing. We asked the NEB to provide safeguards for the 26-million people that rely on watersheds crossed by Line 9B for their drinking water -- no specific safeguards were addressed.
Waterkeeper also asked the NEB to ensure measures to prevent diluted bitumen from leaking into the environment, which would cause devastating effects for wildlife, fish, and human health. These measures were not mentioned in the NEB’s decision.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is a Canadian charity working for a day when every person in our watershed can safely touch the water, when the water is pure enough to drink, and when the lake is clean and wild enough that you could toss in a line anywhere and pull out a fish.
Read the full NEB decision here.