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NEWS: Concerns continue about a Sarnia-Portland pipeline near the Great Lakes

Androscoggin River

Androscoggin River

Bloomberg reports that Enbridge is in talks with US refineries about receiving bitumen from the tar sands via a Sarnia to Portland pipeline.

The news article notes, “Enbridge Inc., Canada’s largest pipeline owner, is in talks with Valero Energy Corp. and other refiners about reversing the flow of a pipeline to ship Canadian crude to the U.S. East Coast, said Chief Executive Officer Patrick Daniel. Enbridge is talking to ‘all’ refiners on the East Coast and in the Maritime provinces in eastern Canada about the possibility for the company’s Line 9, Daniel said in an interview… The reversal of the line, which currently transports crude from Quebec to Ontario, might happen as early as 2014, he said.”

In early September, the Sarnia Observer reported, “(Pipeline giant) Enbridge has applied to the National Energy Board to reverse the (24,000 barrel per day) flow of Line 9 which current flows west from Westover (near Hamilton) to Sarnia (in southern Ontario).”

Those concerned with this Enbridge proposal state that this is a revival of their Trailbreaker project, which would have moved bitumen from Alberta on Line 9 to Sarnia (notably, located on Lake Huron) to the Hamilton-area (on Lake Ontario), to Montreal (on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the gateway of the Great Lakes), then on an existing 236-mile underground pipeline between Montreal to Portland (across Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, and passing near Sebago Lake and over the Androscoggin River).

The groups raising these concerns with the National Energy Board are Environmental Defense, the Pembina Institute, Equiterre, the Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

The first series of news reports on the reversal of Line 9 did not note that the bitumen could be refined on the US East Coast or in the Maritime provinces, but rather that it would be loaded onto tankers and shipped along the eastern US coast and down to the Gulf of Mexico to refineries in Texas.