enbridge line 9: all pain and no gain for ontario, quebec, and new england

Have you heard about Line 9?

Enbridge has begun a process that would create a third option to get their dirty tarsands oil out of Alberta to sell to the rest of the world. The Keystone XL pipeline would stretch from Alberta to Nebraska. (Gee, what could go wrong?) The Northern Gateway pipeline would see, impossibly, huge supertankers threading through the rocky, island-dotted British Columbia coast. (Another no-brainer.)

Under this third plan, Enbridge would reverse the flow in two existing pipelines - Line 9 and the Portland-Montreal Line. Oil would flow from Alberta through Sarnia, Ontario, onto Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area, into Quebec, through Montreal, and down into New England, ending in Casco Bay in Portland, Maine - approximately 1200 kilometres (750 miles), through the most densely populated area of Canada, through the sources of drinking water for millions of people. The route passes through 99 towns and cities and 14 indigenous communities.

To quote NRDC, "...the dirtiest oil on the planet" would be carried "through some of the most important natural and cultural places in Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine." Note that the oil flowing through that pipeline - diluted bitumen - is more dangerous than conventional oil, and spills more often.

Together, these three pipeline plans have the potential to devastate an enormous swathe of North America. All for the profit of a corporation and its shareholders.

The National Energy Board of Canada has already approved the reversal of Line 9 and work on the initial phase has begun. This affects your environment, your drinking water, your health. Were you consulted??

City councils in Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, and Toronto have passed motions requesting more information or attempting to get involved in the approval process.

I hope you will read more about Enbridge's Line 9 plan. Get informed, and in any way you can, get involved. You don't need to become a full-time environmental activist to make a difference. A huge, collective "NO!" stopped plans to convert a big piece of Ontario farmland into an enormous quarry. Stopping Enbridge is a bigger task, but so much more is at stake.

Read more here:

Environmental Defence: Ontario municipalities step up to protect citizens, as Enbridge files Line 9 proposal

NRDC: Going in Reverse: The Tar Sands Oil Threat to Central Canada and New England

Excellent resource from NRDC: Going in Reverse Fact Sheet (pdf)

Stop Line 9 (focus on Toronto)

Council of Canadians: Americans raise concerns of tar sands pipeline to Portland, Maine, Ottawa Town Hall: A public discussion on Line 9, Line 9 Facts.

CBC: Enbridge's Line 9 reversal touted as good oilsands PR

Our drinking water, our natural resources, our farmland, our wildlife, our coastline, our health are all more important than "good oilsands PR" and the dividends of Enbridge shareholders.

If you need more information about the tarsands, and how they produce the dirtiest oil on the planet, I highly recommend the film H2Oil. Watch a trailer here, and look for it at your public library.


johngoldfine said...

I can assure you that Maine's Tea Party governor, Paul LePage, will do everything in his power to see that those tar sands are delivered to Casco Bay.

laura k said...

And here in Canada, we are up against the Tarsands Government. It's a tall order.

But we've got to try, because so much is at stake.

karen said...

I have been involved with the Northern Gateway resistance for more than a year here in the middle of BC, and every so often, someone says, "lets send it east!" which just smacks of NIMBYism to me. If bitumen and condensate are an unacceptable threat to Northern BC, why are they acceptable across eastern watersheds?

It's interesting.I see articles in local papers quite a bit that question the pipeline. They don't necessarily come out opposed, but they are questioning some of the discrepencies that come up in the Joint Panel Review process. I was in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for Christmas and the papers there all all Rah!Rah!Pipeline! It makes such good economic sense! Jobs!Jobs!Jobs!

I absolutely agree that we have to try. I spoke to the JPR last summer and I said that I felt like if I did not speak up, and something terrible happened, it would be on my hands. I still feel like that.

laura k said...

Oh yes, "let's send it east" is total NIMBYism. We all must resist the urge to sweep this under the rug by sending it elsewhere. There's only one planet.

When we were in Newfoundland a few years ago, we saw a lot of excitement over the coming of offshore drilling. When people are struggling economically, anything that brings jobs is welcome. That's why environmental change must be linked to economic change.

Karen, thank you for your comment and for all your efforts.

allan said...

Harper: "You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it."

Unknown said...

I generally enjoy your blog, although I don't agree with everything you post, I still subscribed to it. However, I needed to comment on some of the things you have said.

Here in Alberta, which is also a part of Canada, most of us are all for the pipeline. I've read Enbridge held meetings to get feedback on the pipeline in Calgary and no one came to them, because no one objected to them.

The stakes locally are a Trillion dollars to the Alberta government over 25-30 years.

Enbridge has been sending oil eastward to refinery's in Ontario and Quebec for decades, but the charge of NIMBYism seems rather recent to me.

Somehow I doubt this will get posted, but here it is.

laura k said...

I don't know what makes you think I wouldn't post this. It doesn't violate my comment policy in any way.

I'm aware that many people in Canada, not only in Alberta, are pro-pipeline. However, this blog is written only from my own point of view. I am under no obligation to present points of view I disagree with.

If you read more carefully, you'll see that the "NIMBY" charge is in reference to anti-pipeline people in BC - people fighting the Northern Gateway pipeline who say "ship it east instead".

laura k said...

Harper: "You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it."

This applies to Alberta, too. Many people in Alberta like healthy drinking water and don't like cancer.

Jean Binette said...

We all have to remember that Enbridge has a very bad track record regarding pipeline disasters. The worst disaster happened on July 25, 2010 in Michigan near the Kalamazoo river. 20,000 barils escaped from a pipeline built at about the same time the line 9 was built. How can we not be concerned? Near my place in Dunham, Qu├ębec, we are dealing with the Portland-Montreal pipeline built in 1950. This is the pipeline ExxonMobil (the owner with Suncor)is planning to reverse to bring tar sand oil to Portland for export. I cannot accept that we risk people life and the environnment just to create "jobs", sorry, to make more money.
Jean Binette, Dunham.