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Council warns against Enbridge gas pipeline expansion in GTA

The Toronto Star reports, “Enbridge Gas Distribution proposes a $686.5 million pipeline expansion in the Greater Toronto Area… The Enbridge proposal would be buttressed by a $219.4 million project by Union Gas. Enbridge wants to build two big chunks of pipeline roughly along the Highway 407 corridor — a 27-kilometre section in the west end of the GTA, and a separate 23-kilometre section running from Keele St. east to Scarborough, then south to an existing line near Sheppard Ave. E.”

The article adds, “It warns that supplies of natural gas from western Canada may be throttled by dwindling supply in the west, and by limited capacity on TransCanada Corp.’s mainline. TransCanada proposes to convert some of the line’s capacity to carry oil (with the Energy East pipeline). Enbridge’s proposed project, the company says, will allow it to tap into shale gas from the eastern U.S. and gas drawn from Union’s Dawn distribution hub in southwestern Ontario.”

“All participants in the debate over the project are now filing their final arguments before the Ontario Energy Board, following months of hearings.”

On June 28, the Council of Canadians filed submissions with the Ontario Energy Board. Those reports call into question the viability of the pipeline expansion project and show that the cost for energy companies to meet water, environmental and public health regulations as well as a decline in natural gas availability would result in increased costs for customers. The reports were prepared by fracking experts David Hughes, the president of Global Sustainability Research Inc.; Anthony Ingraffea, a professor at Cornell University; and Lisa Sumi, an environmental consultant specializing in energy and extractive industries.

Our legal counsel Steven Shrybman says, “When much-needed environmental regulation catches up with the fracking industry, the shale deposits of the U.S. Northeast are unlikely to provide reliable supply to Ontario consumers. The role of the OEB is to protect the public interest with respect to energy supply as well as promote energy conservation and efficiency. We believe it needs to closely examine the wisdom of expanding expensive infrastructure to increase Ontario’s dependence on shale gas development, which has a very large carbon footprint, when conservation and efficiency measures will be far more sustainable.”

We are also urging Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to refuse Enbridge and Union Gas’ request.

Further reading
Plan to bring fracked gas to GTA not worth risk to Great Lakes
Reports on fracking for the Ontario Energy Board (OEB)
Three out of three experts agree: a frack pipe is the last thing Toronto needs
Ontarians: Say “no” to the frack pipe