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Activists denounce conditional Leave to Open for Enbridge Line 9
June 19, 2015On Thursday, June 18th, the National Energy Board (NEB) granted Enbridge Leave to Open for their controversial Line 9 reversal project, conditional only upon Enbridge performing hydrostatic testing on three segments of the pipeline. A coalition of environmental and Indigenous solidarity activists has condemned this decision, which ignores many of the most significant outstanding issues with the project.
Enbridge plans to reverse the flow of Line 9, a 38-year-old pipeline which runs between Sarnia and Montreal, in order to carry diluted tar sands bitumen and fracked oil, largely for export to foreign markets.
Line 9 crosses a number of Indigenous territories, said the Rev'd Maggie Helwig of the Church of St Stephen-in-the-Fields. Proceeding with the project violates the requirement of free, prior and informed consent. In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report, we cannot allow the rights of Indigenous peoples to be treated with contempt.
The line also runs through Toronto, with one section of the pipeline passing directly under Finch Station.
Although the requirement for some hydrostatic testing is welcome, said Andrea Budgey, who lives close to Line 9, it is entirely insufficient to address the multitude of safety and environmental concerns raised by this project. Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline-safety expert, has issued a report warning of the dangers of this reversal project. He determined that because the pipeline is already full of cracks, and because the reversal will involve pumping more corrosive products at higher pressure, there is a high probability of a leak after the reversal. The overall state of the aging pipeline is a concern, not only in the sections for which testing has been required.
In addition, Toronto City Council has passed a motion calling on Enbridge to comply with the NEB's original requirement to put emergency shut-off valves on either side of all Torontos major waterways, which feed into Lake Ontario, the water supply for the GTA. Enbridge has refused to do this. Enbridge has also failed to make public any emergency plan for the event of a spill in a heavily populated area.
We believe that the Line 9 project is fundamentally flawed, and some hydrostatic tests will not change these basic problems, said Jessica Lyons of the No Line 9 Network. We call for a full cancellation of the Line 9 project, respect for the treaties, and protection of the land, water, and air we all share.
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