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Enbridge keeps plans secret for Line 9

The National Energy Board has recently called Enbridge on the carpet for attempting to put gag orders on municipalities to keep them from divulging information about Enbridge’s emergency procedures.  Enbridge has been asking cities to sign “non-disclosure agreements” before sharing their emergency procedure manuals for Line 9, something that even the industry-friendly NEB finds suspect.  Enbridge has been severely criticized in the past for having inadequate emergency plans for dealing with pipeline ruptures. Instead of producing robust plans that can stand up to public scrutiny, they have decided to hide the details. 

From the NEB website:

February 5 2015

Mr. Guy Jarvis

President- Liquid Pipelines

Enbridge Inc.

3000 – 425-1st Street S.W. Calgary, Alberta  T2P 3L8

Facsimile 403-231-5710

Dear Mr. Jarvis:

Enbridge Pipelines Inc. (Enbridge)

Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project 

Non-Disclosure Agreements for Emergency Procedures Manuals

In recent meetings I had with the Mayor of Montreal and the Mayor of Mascouche (representing the Union of Quebec Municipalities), I was made aware of Enbridge’s request for the municipalities to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) relating to Enbridge’s emergency procedures manuals (EPMs). Both officials expressed concerns about signing the NDA, and questioned how they could justify doing so to their citizens, who are expecting transparency on such matters.

As you are aware, section 34 of the National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR) requires companies to take all reasonable steps to inform all persons who may be associated with an emergency response activity on a pipeline of the practices and procedures to be followed during such an activity. The section also requires companies to make available to these persons the relevant information that is consistent with that which is specified in the EPM.

I am concerned that Enbridge’s practice of requesting NDAs is not consistent with the principle of regulatory transparency that guides the Board’s regulatory approach. Additionally, in the circumstances where municipalities are unwilling to sign NDAs, I would appreciate knowing what steps Enbridge will be taking to ensure the requirements of section 34 of the OPR are met.

If you believe there is significant confidential and proprietary information that in your view must not be released under section 34 of the OPR, then Enbridge can seek a review of the information by the Board and we will decide what should be released.

By copy of this letter, I am also requesting that the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association review this matter with the members of their association, to ensure that standard and proactive practices exist across the Association’s membership for appropriate disclosure of emergency response information to municipalities and the public.

Effective and appropriate emergency planning is an important aspect of keeping pipelines safe and ensuring public confidence. I would appreciate your response regarding this matter within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

C. Peter Watson, P. Eng. FCAE 

Chair and CEO

c.c.:       The Honourable Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal and President of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal

Guillaume Tremblay, Mayor of Mascouche and member of Union of Quebec Municipalities 

Brenda Kenny, CEPA

See also: Is Line 9 destined to become a tar sands export pipeline after all?