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Line 9 starts pumping oil

According to Bloomberg news, Enbridge’s forty year old pipeline “Line 9” began pumping crude oil from Sarnia to Montreal earlier this week. About 60,000 barrels of crude was received as of Tuesday.

Line 9 passes through 99 towns and cities and 14 Indigenous communities in Ontario and Quebec.

The article states that “Enbridge began reversing the 300,000 barrel-a-day pipeline in 2011 as refineries in eastern Canada looked to tap into cheaper oil being produced in western Canada and the U.S. Midwest.”

A pipeline safety expert with over forty years of experience in the energy sector, Richard Kuprewicz, has stated that the probability of Line 9 rupturing is over 90% in the first five years of operation. This is due to the large number of fractures in the aging pipeline and the fact that Line 9 will carry various different kinds of crude- including diluted bitumen- which adds additional stresses to the pipeline.

The Council of Canadians has grave concerns about the likelihood of Line 9 rupturing and the consequences of a diluted bitumen spill in the heart of the Great Lakes region. In July 2010, Enbridge’s Line 6 in Michigan ruptured, spilling millions of litres of diluted bitumen from the tar sands into the Kalamazoo River system.  After five years and more than $1.5 billion dollars in cleanup costs, the river is still significantly polluted and Enbridge argues that further cleanup will do more harm than good- essentially admitting that tar sands oil cannot be effectively cleaned up in the case of a spill.

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation plan to appeal the National Energy Board’s approval of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline at the Supreme Court this month due to the lack of free, prior and informed consent to the pipeline reversal.

Council of Canadians chapters in London, Hamilton, Guelph, Peel, Toronto, Peterborough and Northumberland have taken direct action against the reversal of Line 9 over the past two years.