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Hamilton chapter opposes Line 10 expansion, city staff recommend removal of old pipeline to protect groundwater

Hamilton march

The Hamilton chapter marches in the “100% possible” rally on Nov. 29.

The Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter is opposing the Line 10 pipeline expansion.

As noted on the Enbridge website, “Line 10 is a 143-kilometre export pipeline that carries oil from Enbridge’s Westover Terminal in Hamilton, Ontario to West Seneca, a suburb of Buffalo, New York. From there, the oil travels via the Kiantone Pipeline to Warren, Pennsylvania, where it is refined into gasoline, diesel, propane, butane, asphalt and other petroleum products.” The pipeline basically runs south of the western tip of Lake Ontario and north of the eastern tip of Lake Erie. It has a capacity of about 73,000 barrels per day, but currently operates at about 63,000 bpd.

Enbridge now wants to see a larger 20-inch pipeline replace about 35 kilometres of the current 12-inch pipeline that runs through Hamilton.

Today, CBC reports, “The city would like to see a portion of an Enbridge pipeline that will be decommissioned in the near future removed, but the company says doing so is unnecessary. A staff report on the expansion of Line 10’s capacity across Hamilton also raises concerns that a route change around a golf course will affect a sensitive natural area and wants more coordination with local emergency services. [A city staff report says part of Line 10] needs to be removed because there are concerns ‘there may be residue left in the decommissioned pipeline’. That residue could potentially leak out of the pipe and into groundwater.”

The article adds, “The Line 10 project has already received attention from the local activist group Hamilton 350 as well as the local chapter of the Council of Canadians. Both groups say they are watching to see what Enbridge proposes when they finally officially file paperwork to the NEB.”

On Nov. 4, CBC reported, “Agnes Richard of the local Council of Canadians chapter suggested that Enbridge plans to work on 35 kilometres of the pipeline to escape having to undergo a provincial and federal environmental assessment. ‘The city should ask that the province require an environmental assessment on this 35-kilometre section’, she said.”

Enbridge’s timeline for the project includes “ongoing consultation”, but does not mention an environmental assessment. That said, Graham White from Enbridge Pipelines, has written to tell us, “An environmental assessment of the Line 10 maintenance project is, in fact, required by the NEB and will be conducted as indicated in the project description we have filed publicly with the regulator.”

Enbridge wants the pipeline to be in service in early 2018.