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Enbridge says Line 9 doesn’t need more shut off-valves at water crossings

On October 6, the National Energy Board ordered Enbridge not to restart its Line 9 pipeline until further notice. In a letter to Enbridge, the NEB noted “only 6 of the 104 Major Water Crossings identified by Enbridge to date appear to have valves installed within 1 km on both sides of the water crossing” as required by regulations. 

Today, the Globe and Mail reports, “Enbridge Inc. says it should not be required to install shut-off valves at every major water crossing of its Line 9 oil pipeline because it has a smarter way to minimize potential leaks from the line. In a letter to the National Energy Board filed Thursday, the Calgary-based company is seeking to get its project back on track by convincing the regulator that it essentially meets a requirement to ensure the pipeline can be quickly shut down to prevent spills in rivers and creeks across Ontario and Quebec. …In its response filed Thursday, Enbridge noted that the regulations do not specify how far from the banks the valve must be, and insisted that in using modern engineering techniques with a number of remote-control shut-off valves, it had ‘met or exceeded’ the rule.”

The newspaper notes, “Enbridge has largely completed the work to reverse the 639-kilometre stretch of the 40-year-old pipeline that previously carried crude from Montreal to southwestern Ontario, and to expand the capacity to 300,000 barrels a day. The project will provide Western Canadian crude producers with greater access to refineries in Montreal and Quebec City as well as export potential.” In terms of ‘export potential’, CTV has reported, “Some of that crude oil will be refined in Montreal, and some will be loaded into tankers and shipped elsewhere via the St. Lawrence River.”

Line 9 and the NEB are facing tremendous scrutiny from activists in the communities all along the route. Council of Canadians chapters have been actively opposing Line 9, intervening at NEB hearings, organizing with allies and participating in direct actions to block construction sites preparing the pipeline for active service. The Chippewas of the Thames are also challenging the pipeline in the Federal Court of Appeal. They assert that the Crown provided no consultation with the Chippewas on the pipeline despite their Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Line 9 crosses the Thames River which runs through their traditional territory and provides their drinking water.

Enbridge was expecting the pipeline to be in operation by November 1.

To see for yourself where the valves have been placed: