Tar Sands Solutions Network

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Line 9

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.

Line 9 Updates & Resources

Pipeline alert from federal regulator is first of its kind

Elizabeth Douglass | InsideClimate News - November 18th 2014

Press Clipping: Reversing oil and natural gas pipelines or switching the product they're carrying can have a "significant impact" on the line's safety and integrity—and "may not be advisable" in some cases, federal regulators told pipeline companies in a recent advisory. The alert is the first time the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has officially cautioned the industry about potential safety threats from restarting, reversing or reworking pipelines to handle Canadian tar sands oil and the surge in U.S. oil and natural gas supplies. If not handled properly, those changes can increase the risk of pipeline leaks and ruptures, the Sept. 12 notice said.

New student coalition promises to block pipelines at Quebec border


Editors | Tar Sands Solutions Network - November 7th 2014

Blog Post: A new coalition of Quebec student associations is launching today, with a mandate to block any and all pipelines at the provincial border. "Among our students there is a tremendous appetite for doing what is necessary to stop climate change," said ECO spokesperson, and Concordia Student Union VP External, Anthony Garoufalis-Auger. "This coalition seeks to unite the Quebec student movement, the most powerful such movement in North America, behind a simple message: these pipelines will not pass."

Enbridge asks NEB to revisit directive for valve shut-off on Line 9 pipeline

Shawn McCarthy | Globe and Mail - October 26th 2014

Press Clipping: Enbridge Inc. tells the National Energy Board (NEB) it should not be required to install shut-off valves at every major water crossing of its Line 9 oil pipeline because it has a smarter way to minimize potential leaks from the line. In a sharply worded letter two weeks ago, board secretary Sheri Young scolded the company, saying the regulator “takes protection of people and the environment seriously and it expects the same of the companies it regulates.”

Coast Guard: We can’t adequately respond to Great Lakes heavy oil spill


Keith Matheny | Detroit Free Press - September 11th 2014

Press Clipping: The U.S. Coast Guard and other responders are not adequately equipped or prepared for a “heavy oil” spill on the Great Lakes, according to a Coast Guard commander who is pushing for action. A major oil spill from one of the proposed tar sands pipelines could spell economic disaster for the states in the Great Lakes region, severely damaging the multibillion-dollar fishing and recreational boating industries and killing off wildlife.

Protest halts work on Enbridge pipeline in southwestern Ontario


August 6th 2014

Press Clipping: Protesters set up a blockade at an Enbridge pipeline site in southwestern Ontario on Tuesday, disrupting work on what is called Line 9. Protest spokeswoman Rachel Avery said the valve was being installed near the Thames River, which isn’t adequately protected from the risk of a spill. “We’re very concerned about the severe impacts of Line 9 on waterways, including the nearby Thames river,” Avery said.

How a town in Maine is blocking an Exxon tar-sands pipeline


Roger Drouin | Grist - July 23rd 2014

Press Clipping: Citizens trying to stop the piping of tar-sands oil through their community wore blue “Clear Skies” shirts at a city council meeting in South Portland, Maine, this week. But they might as well have been wearing boxing gloves. The small city struck a mighty blow against Canadian tar-sands extraction. “It’s been a long fight,” said resident Andy Jones after a 6-1 city council vote on Monday to approve the Clear Skies Ordinance, which will block the loading of heavy tar-sands bitumen onto tankers at the city’s port.