Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Tar Sands Pipeline Proposal Has Canadians Scared after Disastrous Michigan Spill

Energy
Tar Sands Pipeline Proposal Has Canadians Scared after Disastrous Michigan Spill

Environmental Defence

Enbridge is asking the National Energy Board to approve the additions and modifications required to allow the reversal of crude oil flow within a segment of Line 9 from the Sarnia Terminal to the North Westover Station in southwestern Ontario.

Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation blasted Enbridge for “too little focus on safety” that led to a disastrous tar sands oil spill in Michigan two years ago, and compared the company’s response to the “Keystone cops." It could be a taste of things to come for Ontario, since the pipeline company wants to ship tar sands oil through the province.

Environmental Defence called on Ontario to protect its rivers and lakes from oil spills, noting that a tar sands oil spill is harder to clean up than normal oil. Enbridge is facing fines for 24 pipeline safety violations in Michigan, and as such, shouldn’t be given the okay to transport tar sands oil through its aging Line 9 pipeline. The company wants to change the direction of this pipeline so it can ship tar sands oil east from Sarnia.

“We can’t sit back and trust Enbridge to protect our water given their behaviour in Michigan. But with federal rules now weaker, we’re asking the province to protect Ontario’s land and water from a dangerous tar sands oil spill,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence. “If an oil spill happens, people will look to the province to clean up the mess, so we’re asking them to be proactive now.”

In just the first leg of the Line 9 pipeline, 357 ‘crack-like features’ were detected during the last inspection, which led to the rupture in Michigan. In light of the damning U.S. government findings into Enbridge’s safety track record, McEachern said there’s reason to be alarmed.

“The U.S. government found repeated instances of disregard for safety. The simple fact is if Enbridge can’t ship tar sands oil safely in Michigan, why would it in Ontario?” McEachern asked. “This company hasn’t earned a blank cheque to put Ontario’s land and water at risk of a dangerous tar sands oil spill.”

The review of the Line 9 proposal is being handled by the National Energy Board. To date, it has failed to consider whether there’s an increased risk of oil spills due to shipping raw tar sands oil through Line 9, and what the impact of a spill would be. Yet the Michigan spill has shown that tar sands oil is harder clean up and has more serious health and environmental impacts than normal oil when it does spill. Among these is that unlike normal oil, tar sands oil sinks instead of floating when spilled into water.

Environmental Defence sent a letter to Environment Minister Jim Bradley today asking the province to investigate these risks given the number of rivers the Line 9 pipeline crosses. These include the Grand, Credit, Rouge and Trent. The pipeline also runs very close to the Great Lakes.

Visit EcoWatch's ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

 

Reindeers at their winter location in northern Sweden on Feb. 4, 2020, near Ornskoldsvik. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, experienced some of their warmest temperatures on record in the summer of 2020. Ken Ilio / Moment / Getty Images

Heatwaves are not just distinct to the land. A recent study found lakes are susceptible to temperature rise too, causing "lake heatwaves," The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Starfish might appear simple creatures, but the way these animals' distinctive biology evolved was, until recently, unknown. FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

By Aaron W Hunter

A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Joe Biden officially took office Wednesday, and immediately set to work reversing some of former President Donald Trump's environmental policies.

Read More Show Less
Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

In many schools, the study of climate change is limited to the science. But at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, students in one class also learn how to take climate action.

Read More Show Less