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When TransCanada first announced its 4400km Energy East pipeline project from Alberta to Saint John, the spin was all about nation-building. This spin is dependent on the idea that Energy East will see crude produced in the Prairies replace so-called foreign imports to Atlantic Canada.
Environmental and citizen groups in Quebec are demanding the National Energy Board explain why it refuses to order a hydrostatic safety test of Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline, a west-to-east oil pipeline that could come online as early as next month. A hydrostatic test or hydrotest is a commonly used method to determine whether a pipeline can operate safely at its maximum operating pressure. The test involves pumping water through the pipeline at levels higher than average operating pressures.
By the end of this month the federal pipeline regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), is expected to approve Enbridge's proposal for its 38-year old Line 9 oil pipeline in Ontario and Quebec, which would carry shale oil -- known for its propensity to explode as it did in North Dakota. With that in mind, the province of Ontario must hold its ground on Line 9 and ensure its demands for a safer pipeline are met.
Over the years, the environmental movement has written hundreds and hundreds of reports and had thousands of meetings with decision makers, and while these things remain important, what we really need is people power. We need decision-makers to realize that Canadians want climate change to be taken seriously for a clean energy future.
So much for Premier Wynne's meaningless promise to ensure environmental protections are in place for Line 9. So much for the Premier's promise to ensure First Nations' concerns are addressed. The Premier has thrown Ontario's environment, water and communities under the big oil bus.
The largest onshore oil spill in US history -- Enbridge's ruptured Line 6B that released nearly 3 million liters of tar sands diluted bitumen into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan -- finally has an official price tag: $1,039,000,000 USD. That's according to newly disclosed figures released by Enbridge in a Revised Application to expand another one of its pipelines, the Alberta Clipper.
Line 9 is a 38-year-old pipeline running between Sarnia and Montreal. It runs through 115 communities and under prime farmland, and crosses major river systems that flow into Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. A spill could put the drinking water of millions of Ontarians at risk. And a spill will happen.
Public hearings are rarely closed to the public. But that's exactly what happened at the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings in London, Ontario to review Enbridge's Line 9 proposal -- the first part of Enbridge's plan to build a route to move tar sands oil through Ontario and Quebec. In short, they kicked us out.
The oil industry is used to getting its way without much fuss, but now thousands of citizens, unions, legislators and celebrities have come together to fight for the energy future they want. It has been inspiring, but it also raises an important question: shouldn't every decision about a new energy project face this type of scrutiny?