Tar Sands Solutions Network

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Enbridge has proposed to pump tar sands crude through a repurposed 500-mile pipeline that currently runs westward along the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway from Montreal, Quebec to Sarnia, Ontario. Enbridge, the same company responsible for the devastating pipeline spill of one million gallons of tar sands crude into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, wants to reverse Line 9 so it can carry tar sands crude to Montreal (and then on to a harbour and oil terminal in South Portland, Maine).

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- An aging 500-mile natural gas pipeline that will be reversed to carry tar sands crude through Ontario and Quebec

Key Problems:

- Reversing old pipelines means risks of more leaks and spills

- Natural gas pipelines were not built to carry corrosive tar sands crude

- This leak-prone pipeline crosses dozens of major rivers and runs through major urban centers

Current Status:

- Line 9 has been approved by Canada's National Energy Board.

This pipeline runs through or close to many major urban centres, including Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, Cornwall, and Montreal, home to millions of people. It also crosses dozens of major rivers and streams that flow into the Great Lakes, a major source of drinking water. A pipeline spill anywhere along this route would have disastrous consequences.

Updates & Resources

New study compares federal party positions on climate, tar sands and clean energy


October 2nd 2015

Blog Post: Today two of Canada’s largest environmental groups released a summary of the five major federal parties’ positions on environmental issues, including climate change and the upcoming Paris climate summit, tar sands and the Energy East pipeline as well as renewable energy, public transit and the electrification of transportation. The study is based on responses to a series of questions that the environmental groups sent to the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, and (in the French version) the Bloc Québécois. All parties responded to the questionnaire except for the Conservative Party.

The planet can’t handle five more years of Harper

Cam Fenton | 350.org - October 7th 2015

Press Clipping: This election has been rough. It's not just the eleven week marathon campaign, or the series of underwhelming shout-fest debates. For me, as someone who is direly concerned about the fate of our planet, it's the simple reality that among Canada's major political parties none have the courage to put forward a plan that reflects the simple scientific truth about tackling the climate crisis -- fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. Since Canada is home to of the world's largest pools of carbon -- the Alberta Tar Sands -- this is a pretty big deal.

All quiet on the science front


Michael Rennie | Canadian Journalists for Free Expression - October 6th 2015

Blog Post: The Canadian public values credible and trustworthy information, and it doesn’t currently believe that our governments are in a position to provide it. A critical means of restoring the public’s trust in government is to provide more transparency into how decisions are made and how various pieces of information are weighed in the decision-making process. Denying government scientists the ability to comment on their own work only makes it look like there’s something to hide, and it suggests that there is neither trust in the scientists who conducted the study to speak objectively, nor in the public to hear what the study has to say from the person most qualified to discuss it.

How Harper triggered a First Nations legal war over Northern Gateway


Mychaylo Prystupa | National Observer - October 6th 2015

Press Clipping: Eight B.C. First Nations are in federal court to launch a legal attack on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The coalition hopes to overturn Ottawa’s conditional approval of the project, which would deliver Alberta crude to B.C.’s north coast. The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip pledged to go to jail if necessary to stop the pipeline, and said the federal Conservative government has “completely demonized and vilified Indigenous peoples of this country and has declared all of these [energy] projects in the national interest.”

Environmental groups in federal appeal court to oppose Northern Gateway pipeline

Geordon Omand | Globe and Mail - October 6th 2015

Press Clipping: A federal panel tasked with reviewing the Northern Gateway pipeline project failed to take into account the serious threat posed by oil spills and increased tanker traffic to humpback whales, says an environmental lawyer. ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and B.C. Nature are part of a Federal Court of Appeal challenge arguing the government erred in granting approval to Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB) for the controversial, $7-billion megaproject.

After the election, I’m risking arrest


Clayton Thomas Muller | Climate Welcome - October 6th 2015

Blog Post: We’ve been thinking long and hard about how to make the big announcement we’ve been hinting at for the past month. After much consideration, we decided a simple invitation was all we needed. This is an invitation for you to step up. To consider risking arrest in a gentle but serious series of actions designed to welcome the next Prime Minister, whoever he is, by calling on him to change the direction that Canada has been headed. We’re in the midst of an election where no political party with a chance of forming government has a plan to do what scientists say is necessary to meet global climate targets – keep at least 85% of tar sands oil in the ground.

Northern Gateway pipeline court challenge is now underway


October 6th 2015

Press Clipping: Environmental groups say the Northern Gateway pipeline project would pose a serious threat to humpback whales and, if allowed, would set a precedent for future projects. ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and BC Nature are part of a Federal Court of Appeal challenge arguing the government erred in granting approval for the controversial, $7.5-billion megaproject.

First Nations inspired by B.C. in battle against Energy East

Mychaylo Prystupa | National Observer - October 4th 2015

Press Clipping: Indigenous leaders from across Canada are forming a new national political alliance to support opposition to TransCanada's Energy East pipeline. The coalition of chiefs hopes to share B.C.'s lessons for thwarting oil sands pipelines with bands from the Prairies and Eastern Canada. Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba First Nations chiefs voted unanimously at a Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs conference on Wednesday in Vancouver to develop strategies to work together to oppose Energy East, which they see as an unacceptable risk to their lands and waterways. A first-of-its kind “Indigenous Treaty” is also in the works to tackle oil sands expansion in general.