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Burlington tells National Energy Board that an Enbridge pipeline leak would be “catastrophic” for the city.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 29, 2013  The National Energy Board has received nearly 200 applications to participate in the hearings on the expansion and flow reversal of the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline that could also be used to export diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. While most are individuals, like Burlington’s Sarah Harmer, many of the applicants are representing citizen groups, private corporations, industry groups, municipalities, or the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

A Enbridge Pipeline monitoring station on Walkers Line, between Sideroad #1 and #2 will monitor the flow of diluted bitumen of the National Energy Board approves a flow reversal application. The city of Burlington has gone on record as being opposed – call the possible consequences “catastrophic”.

The controversial process imposed by the federal Conservative government requires formal applications to participate from even those who only want to submit a letter of comment, and gives the NEB the authority to choose who will be heard and in what way. Local applicants include the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, federal NDP MPs, the Hamilton 350 Committee, the local chapter of the Council of Canadians, Burlington Green, the Burlington office of Environment Canada, and numerous individuals.

Most only intend to submit a letter to the hearings currently scheduled for late August, but others are seeking intervenor status that gives them the right to speak, cross-examine, and call witnesses and present final arguments to the NEB.

The applications from Hamilton and Burlington city councils seek only to provide written comments, but both emphasize the serious impacts of potential pipeline ruptures or leaks. Burlington notes that “a major spill of heavy crude mixed with diluents within city limits would be catastrophic”.

Several applications focus attention on Enbridge’s plans to ship diluted bitumen (dilbit) through the 38-year-old pipe and point to recent disastrous spills of this material, such as in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010 and on Good Friday in Mayflower, Arkansas.

Singer Sarah, a consistent supporter of the environment and a leader in the battle to prevent Nelson Aggregates from obtaining a permit to open a second quarry on the Escarpment has applied to appear before the National Energy Board to speak against approving the flow reversal of the Enbridge Pipeline that runs across her family’s farm.

Singer Sarah Harmer, applying for intervenor status on behalf of herself and her family, notes the Enbridge pipe traverses 400 metres of their Mt Nemo property and has been subjected to blasting effects from the Nelson quarry “at least twice weekly for the entire 38 year of its existence” that has cracked drywall, shaken windows and is “akin to an earthquake repeated a few times each week” at their home. Harmer and others were recently successful in blocking a new Nelson aggregate operation, in which she “engaged expert scientists, planners and government experts in the study of this area” over the last eight years.

There is a public event on Thursday evening at the Baltimore House, 43 King William Street, in Hamilton,  starting at 6:30 pm that will include speakers from several communities affected by Line 9 including Six Nations.

We are grateful to CATCH – Citizens at City Hall –  for the bulk of this report


 


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