On Monday, October 6, the National Energy Board (NEB) released a letter temporarily denying Enbridge’s “Leave to Open” submission on Line 9 based on the inadequacy of the valve safety standards on the pipeline.
The NEB is requiring that Enbridge install valves on both sides of all Major Water Crossings and other significant areas in order to “limit damage from accidental discharge” and provide “automatic blockage of the pipeline”. Last month, the NEB rejected Enbridge’s petition to cancel over 100 “Integrity Digs” on Line 9, requiring Enbridge to complete at least one additional dig.
In its application, Enbridge had cited concerns of running behind schedule on their integrity dig program. Over the past two years activists have blockaded a number of integrity digs, causing significant delays to Line 9 reversal plans.
Enbridge has also come under intense public pressure along the route of Line 9, and the NEB’s oversight of the project is currently subject to two separate lawsuits. One is an appeal of the NEB’s approval of Line 9 put forward by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation based on the lack of consultation with the community on the project.
We, the coalition of grassroots activists, community groups, and environmental organizations who have been resisting Line 9, believe that the NEB’s recent scrutiny of the project is a direct result of our mass-opposition.
The public has tirelessly pressured all levels of government, Enbridge, and the NEB itself. Without the educational events, canvassing, fundraisers, emails, petitions, concerts, rallies, municipal resolutions, lawsuits, blockades,brave acts, and resulting media coverage, this project could have quietly slipped by with little attention to safety. As a result of these NEB decisions, Line 9 will likely not be operational for at least another three months, in contrast to the mid-October 2014 launch date that Enbridge had initially planned.
While the delay and the NEB’s conditions are small victories for the No Line 9 movement, we maintain that additional valves or digs will not make this pipeline safe to transport toxic materials. Indeed, many of the 13,000problems Enbridge has identified in this pipeline are not being addressed.
Moreover, no level of safety precautions will mitigate the damage that will result from Line 9 transporting TarSands dilbit or fracked Bakken crude. This would enable the expansion of the Tar Sands mega-project in Northern Alberta which poisons downstream communities and contributes to catastrophic climate change and would help mass-fracking continue in North Dakota.
While we will claim this small victory for the people versus Big Oil and colluding governments, we pledge tocontinue fighting this dirty project until it is cancelled outright. No Line 9. Shut Down the Tar Sands. People Before Profit.
Rising Tide Toronto
Guelph Anti-Pipeline Action (GAP Action)
Toronto West End Against Line 9
Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP)
Scarborough Bitumen Free Future
Council of Canadians Toronto Chapter
Waterloo Region Coalition Against Line 9
Council of Canadians – Guelph Chapter
Council of Canadians – York University Chapter
The Hamilton 350 Committee
Climate Justice Montreal
London Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Toronto Raging Grannies
The Ottawa Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Council of Canadians Peel Chapter
Creation Matters Subcommittee, Anglican Diocese of Toronto
Montreal Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Council of Canadians, Peterborough and Kawarthas Chapter
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Photo: Dave Vasey