A group of Council of Canadians activists, local residents, allies and First Nations blockaded the access road to an exposed section of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline this morning. They will be maintaining the blockade for twelve hours, one hour for every thousand anomalies Enbridge has reported to exist on the line.
Community members turned away Enbridge employees who were scheduled to do work on Line 9 in preparation for it to carry toxic diluted bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands. The CBC reports that protesters are drawing attention to the fact, “that Enbridge calls these developments integrity digs, but to anyone watching the Line 9 issue, it’s clear Enbridge has no integrity. This work on the line is just a band aid, a flimsy patch over the most outrageous flaws in the Line 9 plan.”
An area resident highlighted that, “this section of the pipeline being worked on in Burlington is “running so close to Bronte Creek that the threat (of a spill) is imminent. If something breaks, there is an imminent threat to our water supply. Bronte is one of the main waterways feeding into Lake Ontario.” Lake Ontario itself provides drinking water for over ten million people. In the event of a leak, water plants in the area have no way of filtering toxic benzene from the Tar Sands bitumen out of the water.
The press release from the blockade states that “Line 9 has at least 12961 structural weaknesses along its length. And yet, Enbridge is only doing a few hundred integrity digs. Enbridge has been denying the problems with the pipe for years, and they still refuse to do the hydrostatic testing requested by the province. Are we really supposed to simply trust Enbridge when they tell us that this time they’ll do it right?”
Many of the blockaders point to the disastrous spill from Enbridge’s line 6b into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010, where millions of litres of oil spilled and have so far proven impossible to clean up. They also point out testimony at the NEB that Line 9 has a 90% chance of catastrophic failure in the initial years after its operation is changed.
Protesters also emphasized that their opposition to Line 9 goes beyond safety concerns,“This is not about pipelines versus rail; it’s about the Tar Sands… It’s the dirtiest oil in the world: it’s not worth the destruction it takes to produce, it’s not worth the risk to our watersheds to transport, and we definitely can’t afford the carbon in our atmosphere when it’s burned. At every step of the process, the Tar Sands outsources the risks onto our communities and poisons waterways like the Athabasca River and the Bronte creek while companies like Enbridge get rich.”
To learn more about Line 9 please see: