Canada's energy regulator denied Enbridge's bid to move forward with a controversial oil pipeline project in southern Ontario this week. The company must prove it will do more to protect the Lake Ontario watershed before its plan to reverse the flow of oil in the pipeline can proceed.
When the National Energy Board approved Enbridge's plan to reverse the flow of oil in its Line 9B oil pipeline in 2013, it imposed a series of conditions.
One of those conditions (#16) ordered Enbridge to install shutoff valves on both sides of major waterways. In the event of an accident, the valves would be used to help protect waterways from oil spills.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Ottawa Riverkeeper, Save the River and Lake Erie Waterkeeper worked together during the National Energy Board hearing. Our main concern was the potential impact on Great Lakes waterways if Line 9B ever experienced some kind of accident or breakage.
Enbridge applied to the National Energy Board earlier this summer seeking permission to open the expanded pipeline. Today, the National Energy Board's decision became public.
The National Energy Board said "no".
Until Enbridge proves that there are shutoff valves located on all major waterway crossings, the flow of oil through Line 9B cannot be reversed. According to the Board's letter, 104 major waterway crossings along the pipeline. Only 6 have shutoff valves within 1km of the water.
The Board also reminded Enbridge that the company has an obligation to protect all ecologically sensitive areas and urban water supplies.