BurlingtonGreen reminds political leaders why we pay them the big bucks. Your constituents need some help.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  February 21, 2013  BurlingtonGreen has published an Open Letter addressed to our Member of Parliament, our Member of the Provincial Legislature, Chair of the Region, the Mayor and members of city Council – Whew, a lot of them isn’t there?

Dear MP Wallace, MPP McKenna, Mayor Goldring and Members of Burlington Council, Chair Carr, cc: media

As our city’s (and Regional) leaders elected in part to safeguard the interests of the people and environment of Burlington, we are writing to you today to convey BurlingtonGreen’s continued concern for Enbridge’s proposed Line 9 pipeline project that cuts across Burlington’s landscape. Many BurlingtonGreen team members attended the Feb 7, 2013 public meeting hosted by the City where Enbridge officials shared their proposal to provide a route for diluted bitumen by reversing the flow through its aging pipeline.

The circled area shows where creeks are located to the south of the Enbridge pipeline route.  A rupture or even a leak would be disastrous for the communities south of the Escarpment.  Do you see your street in there?

Line 9 intersects essential watersheds across the GTHA flowing to Lake Ontario enroute to Montreal refineries. At the meeting Enbridge spoke about lessons learned since their devastating spill that took place in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 and how, in the event of a Halton spill, Enbridge would be far better prepared.

However, we found there to be insufficient assurances provided of the measures planned to prevent a spill in the first place highlighting a significant contradiction. Enbridge stated that protection of the environment was a top priority for this and all their projects yet we would argue that if this was indeed the case, they would not propose a project with such high risk elements.

Enbridge was clear that the project is driven by economics but at what potential cost to human and environmental health? Pumping the maximum line capacity (300,000 barrels) per day, through an aging pipeline that has never before transported bitumen that carries with it known carcinogenic agents is not placing the environment or human health as a priority. On top of this, we understand the pressure of flow will be at the maximum allowable by Canadian industry standards. Combined, we trust you would agree, the proposed project is simply far too risky.

US citizens are saying NO to the Keystone XL super pipeline. People in western Canada are saying NO to the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal because the risks are too great. Safe drinking water and a protected landscape here in Halton and across Southern Ontario is of equal importance.

We recognize that some of you have or may suggest you have no legislative power to affect this issue. However all of you do have the responsibility and opportunity to demonstrate effective leadership by safeguarding the interests of the people and environment of Burlington. You can demonstrate this by sending a collective message to the National Energy Board that you oppose the current proposal and want a comprehensive Environmental Assessment conducted before any decision is made.

We look forward to learning from each of you what your proposed next actions are for this most significant issue.


Amy Schnurr, Executive Director, BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association.

The Enbridge pipeline monitoring site on Walkers Line – looking west. Enbridge can control the flow of oil through this location from their control rooms in Edmonton. Does that make the line safer?  The satellite dish in the upper left handles the signals

The BurlingtonGreen people are certainly right with their concern but it is now increasingly evident that we haven’t a hope of stopping the application Enbridge has made to the National Energy Board for a permit to reverse the flow of liquids through that 39 year old pipeline.

The Enbridge pipeline route looking east. There are a lot of creeks that run south from this part of the Escarpment.

National economic interests are such that too many people have too much to gain by having that oil flow east.  The billions of dollars that are at play here are too much for anyone to care all that much about Burlington.  The state of the national economy is what is at risk and that trumps oil running down the side of the escarpment.  Sad, disgusting actually, but true.

In 1940 we sent thousands of men to their deaths while fighting a war in Europe – it was a national interest.

The best we can hope for is a solid set of procedures and safety measures should there be a leak and an oil spill.  And here is where we have a hope in Hades of protecting ourselves.

The National energy Board announced funding that is available to groups that want to intervene at the energy Board hearings that will determine if a permit is to be issued.

This is where BurlingtonGreen can apply pressure on behalf of the community.

Unfortunately, when we brought this to the attention of BurlingtonGreen Executive Director she said she wasn’t  aware of the funding program and wasn’t sure if her organization wanted to take federal money.

Rethink that decision and apply for funding or join other groups that will undoubtedly apply for the funding.  The person handling the funding applications is:  Mathieu Fecteau, Participant Funding Program Administrator.  They apparently answer the phone if you dial 1-800-899-1265 Ext. 3659  Email address is PFP.PAFP@neb.one.gc.ca

Michael Benson is the Process Advisor and his contact information is:  Telephone – 1-800-899-1265 Ext. 1992.  Email address is:  michael.benson@neb-one.gc.ca

Real municipal leadership would have had the Mayor informing himself of what the National Energy Board funding was all about and then offering some administrative, research and graphics support which would allow BurlingtonGreen to put together a strong application for funds so they could intervene on behalf of the citizens of this city.

There is the potential for very serious damage to Burlington, its environment and water supply if there is ever a leak or a rupture to that pipe line.

The first thing Our Burlington wants to know is the state of that pipeline.  We want Enbridge to dig up sections of it and do a physical inspection and determine just what condition it is actually in.  The steel used in that pipeline is just one quarter of an inch thick – a half an inch when the pipe goes under a creek or a stream.

Close up – Burlington’s MP Mike Wallace looks closely at a piece of art at the Art Centre. Can BurlingtonGreen convince him to help them take a closer look at the state of the pipeline that runs across the northern part of the city – it is a federal issue.

We need more information; we are entitled to more information – and BurlingtonGreen is just the group to go after Enbridge to get that information.

Don’t expect any of the politicians you’ve written to do much for you.


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