Enbridge pipeline plan would mean tar sands expansion and make Ontario a corridor for risky tar sands oil:New report released on first day of public hearings highlights risks for Ontario
London, ON – As public hearings get underway in London into Enbridge’s proposed pipeline plan, a new report shows that the project would put Ontarians at risk of more dangerous spills and air pollution without clear benefit. Environmental Defence, Equiterre and others will be at the hearings to argue against the plan.
 
“Enbridge’s plan would turn Ontario into a corridor for risky tar sands oil and threaten the places Ontarians care about with oil spills,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence. “The Thames River and other water bodies in the Great Lakes region are too precious to risk for the sake of more tar sands oil.”
 
“This would help tar sands expand, and the more tar sands oil we use, the worse global warming will get and the fewer clean solutions we will embrace,” she continued.
 
The scale of the project has changed since the application was filed with the National Energy Board last August. Enbridge originally asked to be exempted from a full review, saying it wanted to reverse only a portion of the pipeline, from Sarnia to near Hamilton.  Since then, it has confirmed what environmentalists feared all along: that the whole pipeline to Montreal is the real plan.
It’s also changed its tune about what will be shipped through it. Originally, it said it wanted to send conventional oil along. Now, it’s said that dirtier and harder-to-clean up tar sands oil is the plan.
 
“For almost a year now, we have been trying to convince the National Energy Board that Enbridge’s motive is not simply to reverse Line 9 in Ontario but to bring tar sands oil all the way to Quebec through Ontario. Now that the company has finally come clean, we are very worried that the NEB continues to refuse to study the health, environmental and security risks of shipping tar sands oil, particularly through these aging pipelines,” said Steven Guilbeault, Deputy Director of Équiterre.
 
Enbridge’s Tar Sands Pipeline Plan: All Pain and No Gain for Ontario, the factsheet released today by Environmental Defence, highlights the impacts of the plan to reverse the entire Line 9 route for Ontario. It shows the greater risk of oil spill caused by shipping raw tar sands oil, which is like sending hot liquid sandpaper through aging pipelines.
It details key areas that could be at risk, including the Grand River, Thames River, Rouge River, Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario. If hit by a tar sands oil spill, water used by millions of Ontarians could be polluted with oil more dangerous to the environment and human health than conventional oil.
 
Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Citizen’s Environmental Alliance and Environment Northeast are official intervenors in the hearings, and will be represented by Ecojustice. 
 
Radio ads, featuring a mother’s story of the damage caused by an Enbridge tar sands spill in Michigan began today, warning Ontarians to reject the plan. 
 
Environmental Defence is also hitting the streets in London this week, to help educate more people of the risks the tar sands pipeline represents.
 
The report and radio ad can be found at:
http://environmentaldefence.ca/enbridgestarsandspipelineplan
environmentaldefence.ca/line-9-radio-ad
 
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
 
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For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Director of Communications, Environmental Defence, skohls@environmentaldefence.ca, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232, (647) 280-9521(cell)