Enbridge's proposal to ship dangerous tar sands oil eastward puts communities at risk: activists

More dirty tar sands oil eastward to Montreal? Yes, according to a news release sent to us by Environmental Defence this morning, stating pipeline giant Enbridge's proposed plan to ship “heavy crude” oil eastward via Line 9 pipeline, increasing the flow of the pipeline by 25 per cent to 300,000 barrels per day and putting Ontario and Quebec communities at risk of oil spills. The environmental group said Enbridge's new proposal could turn Ontario into a "sewer" for filthy tar sands oil.

After Enbridge filed yesterday to seek approval to reverse its Line 9B pipeline to bring more dangerous tar sands oil eastward to Montreal for export, environmental groups in Canada and the U.S., including Environmental Defence, Greenpeace Canada and Natural Resources Defense Council, called on National Energy Board to undertake a full environmental review of the proposal.

“This project could turn Ontario into a sewer for dangerous tar sands oil, putting communities at risk of oil spills into drinking water and onto farmland in the most populated part of the country,” said Adam Scott of Environmental Defence in the email. “And all this to allow big oil to increase tar sands production and export.”

Several municipalities situated along Line 9’s route, including Hamilton, Toronto, Burlington and Mississauga, have already taken the first step "to protect the interests of their citizens", according to the release. They are seeking answers on increased risks to health, water and the natural environment from the proposal.

”Enbridge’s plan to reverse its Line 9 pipeline opens the door to piping the toxic tar sands through Ontario and Quebec for export. Enbridge has previously denied any intention of bring tar sands oil east. However, the regulatory documents they filed today clearly opens the door to more dangerous tar sands oil,” said Dr. Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada in the press release.

In yesterday’s formal application to Canada’s National Energy Board, Enbridge and the National Energy Board acknowledged the line may carry “heavy crude” and its purpose would be to access “western Canadian crude.”

The National Energy Board is "required" to review all major pipeline projects or in Canada. It has already approved reversal of part of Line 9 between Sarnia, Ontario and Montreal, said Environmental Defence in the email. Citizens from the U.S. and Canada had previously submitted 41,000 comments to the Canadian National Energy Board opposing the first phase of the pipeline reversal.

"It is widely understood this filing is part of a larger oil export plan to move tar sands out of Alberta, east through Montreal and down to Maine, raising similar concerns south of the borde," read the email.

“Communities all over New England are rightfully concerned about increased risks to rivers and lakes from tar sands pipelines, with dozens of citizen-organized educational meetings and protests occurring over the last six months, and thousands of people in the region signing petitions against the pipeline,” said Danielle Droitsch of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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