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NEWS: Public information sessions on Line 9 expected in Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton

Enbridge is seeking to reverse the flow of the Line 9 oil pipeline from Hamilton to Montreal. The Toronto Star reports, “In Toronto, the underground line runs the width of the city, mostly following the hydro right of way near Finch Ave. …The line crosses all Toronto’s rivers, and is upstream from Toronto water treatment plants.”

In the wake of Toronto City Council voting to seek standing at the National Energy Board hearings on this pipeline, Enbridge is waging a public relations campaign.

As noted in the newspaper:

– “The company is now thinking about holding (public information) sessions in larger cities (including possibly Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton)…”
– “Enbridge says most of the oil moving through the line will be conventional or synthetic crude, rather than diluted bitumen, or dilbit, from the oil sands.”
– “The company (says it) has completely overhauled its operating procedures since a pipeline break in Kalamazoo, Mich. in 2010 so that operating errors won’t be duplicated.”
– While Enbridge proposed in 2008 to ship tar sands crude to east coast export terminals, they say this is no longer their plan because they have found a US pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico for that production.
– “Reversing the flow of an Enbridge oil pipeline running through the Greater Toronto Area will help maintain competition at southern Ontario gas pumps, company officials say.”

That said, it’s important to keep in mind:

– In November, CBC reported, “In its latest document filed with the NEB, the pipeline company says they would like to ship heavier crudes — like oilsands bitumen — at a later date.”
– The pipeline infrastructure is more than 60 years old and has only carried light sweet crude oil for all those years.
– Enbridge’s pipeline spilled 3.3 million litres of oil two years ago and that is still being cleaned up.
– “A National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded last year that Enbridge’s operations were infected by a ‘culture of deviance’, and said Enbridge employees ‘performed like Keystone Kops’ in Michigan.”
– A study conducted by conservation areas in the Greater Toronto Area warns that a pipeline break could have a ’significant’ effect on drinking water in Toronto.
– Line 9 passes through 99 communities and 14 First Nations, some of which have already expressed their opposition to its reversal.

In terms of a timeline, “The National Energy Board has slated hearings on the project for August.”

For more, please see:
VIDEO: Maude Barlow speaks about Line 9 at public forum in Toronto
NEWS: Toronto seeks standing at NEB hearings on Line 9 pipeline
NEWS: Harper government says ‘Line 9 would show eastern Canadians the benefits of Alberta oilsands development’
NEWS: Study says pipelines threaten Toronto-area drinking water