NEB delays Line 9 opening

The National Energy Board has ordered Enbridge not to restart its Line 9 pipeline until further notice. Enbridge was expecting the pipeline to be in operation by November 1.

In a letter to Enbridge, the NEB notes “that only 6 of the 104 Major Water Crossings identified by Enbridge to date appear to have valves installed within 1 km on both sides of the water crossing” as required by regulations.   

The fact that Enbridge openly flouting the rules by neglecting to install valves at 98 out of 104 water crossings  is perhaps an indication of how seriously they take NEB orders and safety regulations. This should come as no surprise given the fact that the NEB allowed Enbridge to operate without other required emergency equipment for almost two decades

Line 9 and the NEB are facing tremendous scrutiny from activists in the communities all along the route. Council of Canadians chapters have been actively opposing Line 9, intervening at NEB hearings, organizing with allies and participating in direct actions to block construction sites preparing the pipeline for active service.  

The Chippewas of the Thames are also challenging the pipeline in the Federal Court of Appeal. They assert that the Crown provided no consultation with the Chippewas on the pipeline despite their Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Line 9 crosses the Thames River which runs through their traditional territory and provides their drinking water.

If it were to proceed, Line 9 would move 300,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen from Alberta's tar sands and fracked oil from North Dakota eastward to refineries Montreal. CTV reports, "Some of that crude oil will be refined in Montreal, and some will be loaded into tankers and shipped elsewhere via the St. Lawrence River."

In February, a CTV W5 investigative report said that Line 9 had spilled at least 35 times in the Great Lakes region. In early September, the Montreal Metropolitan Community, a coordinating body that represents 82 communities in the region, said that the pipeline poses a risk to the region's drinking water supply.