Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Tar Sands Pipeline Proposal Has Canadians Scared after Disastrous Michigan Spill

Energy

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.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Ian Sane / Flickr

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.

Read More Show Less