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W5 and Toronto Star reveal unreported Line 9 oil spills in Great Lakes region

The Toronto Star reports, “An aging Enbridge pipeline (the 830 kilometre Line 9 pipeline) that runs across Ontario has had at least 35 spills — far more than reported to federal regulators — but many municipalities along its route have never been informed of the incidents, a CTV W5 investigation reveals. The National Energy Board, which regulates pipelines in Canada, has records of seven spills, while Enbridge told the investigative program there had been 13.”

“Companies are required only to report hydrocarbon spills to the National Energy Board that are larger than 1,500 litres — equivalent to about 25 tanks of gas in an average car — or could have a ‘significant adverse effect’ on the environment. …Provincial law also requires that all spills be reported to municipalities in which they occur, but there are many exceptions. Spills such as those occurring at company facilities are usually exempt.”

CTV notes the total amount of oil spilled from Line 9 since 1976 is 3,065,359 litres, which equals about 25,707 barrels.

CTV adds, “The pipeline runs through some of the most populated areas of the country. It has drawn attention recently since Enbridge applied to reverse its flow, increase its capacity and start shipping different types of crude through it, including diluted bitumen.”

Line 9 has carried imported oil received in Montreal to a refinery in Sarnia. Enbridge is seeking to reverse the line and to ship diluted tar sands bitumen and fracked oil to Suncor Energy Corp.’s refinery in Montreal. The company also wants to increase the capacity of the line from 240,000 barrels a day to 300,000 barrels a day. A decision about the reversal of Line 9 by the National Energy Board is expected sometime in the next few weeks. 

More info:

Pipeline Would Carry Fracked Oil and Bitumen Through Toronto

Council chapters back Line 9 occupation on eve of arrests

Thunder Bay chapter intervenes in lawsuit against pipeline


Map: Toronto Star graphic of spills along the Line 9 route.