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Enbridge Line 9 Work Disrupted as Demonstrators Demand an End to Tar Sands, Fracking

September 2, 2015

Port Hope -- Opponents of Enbridge’s Line 9 Tar Sands and fracking pipeline are in Port Hope at the site of testing operations of the controversial pipeline. Enbridge is conducting newly mandated hydrostatic testing on three segments of the 40-year-old pipeline before the company can be permitted to pump bitumen through it. Activists maintain that this testing in no way mitigates Line 9’s impacts.

“Running water through a few spots in this aging pipeline doesn’t mean it won’t break, and moveover it does nothing to address the devastation wrought by the tar sands and fracking fields,” says demonstrator Niloofar Gol. “We are opposed to Enbridge’s Line 9 project because it facilitates tar sands and fracking expansion, which is poisoning Indigenous communities, damaging ecosystems and contributing to catastrophic climate change.”

The hydrostatic tests were ordered by the National Energy Board in June 2015 as a further requirement beyond the initially mandated conditions. The Board acknowledged the impact of public concern stating in their press release that "a higher degree of confidence in the integrity, or condition, of the pipeline is required." The order came after residents’ groups and municipalities including the Greater Montreal Area demanded such testing.

However, even these groups are unsatisfied with the limited scope and lower-than-standard pressure at which Enbridge is testing the line. Those disrupting the testing today are not prepared to give the Line 9 project a thumbs-up even if it passes the testing. As demonstrator Rachel Avery emphasises, “It’s not just a ‘safety’ issue for leaks along the line, it’s not just ‘no bitumen spill in my backyard.’ It’s about leaving it in the ground and putting a halt to the disastrous impacts of tar sands and fracking extraction.”

Line 9 is one of many planned tar sands pipeline projects including Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and TransCanada’s Energy East which also face stern opposition from Indigenous and settler communities. Line 9 is currently facing a legal challenge from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation on the basis that they were not consulted, as is their right as an Indigenous community in the pipeline’s path. A decision on their challenge is expected this fall.

Today’s demonstration is one of many efforts against tar sands taking place across the country this week. In Unist’ot’en territory on the west coast, Indigenous land defenders and supporters are maintaining their blockade against pipeline construction in the face of mounting RCMP presence. In Aamjiwnaang, an Anishinaabe community near Sarnia, a “Toxic Tour” is being held on Saturday to call attention to the impacts of the concentration of petrochemical industry surrounding the reserve. The tour is expected to draw hundreds of people from across the province.

For more information contact:
Lana Goldberg
Phone: 416-275-0123

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