KINGSTON, ON – Enbridge’s plan to ship tar sands oil through Kingston and area poses a new threat to rivers, lakes and livelihoods along Lake Ontario. Environmental Defence, Transition Kingston and the Society for Conservation Biology will discuss the risks at an event this coming Monday.
Enbridge has applied for permits to reverse the flow of its Line 9 pipeline running from Sarnia to Montreal.  The aging pipeline that once carried conventional oil may carry more dangerous tar sands oil. Last week Enbridge confirmed it will ask permission to change what goes through the pipeline to allow heavy crude, which can include tar sands oil.  Line 9 runs north of Kingston roughly along the 401, crossing the Cataraqui River and sensitive wetlands flowing into Lake Ontario.
 
“Line 9 is all risk and no reward for Kingston,” says Adam Scott of Environmental Defence. “Kingston’s drinking water and wetlands are being threatened, all for the sake of shipping oil to the United States.”
 
Tar sands oil (called diluted bitumen) is considered more dangerous than conventional oil because it’s more corrosive to pipelines and therefore, more likely to spill.  Solvents are added to get it to flow through pipelines, including two known carcinogens, benzene and toluene. When tar sands oil spills, it sinks while the volatile solvents evaporate, posing a greater health hazard to humans and the environment than a conventional oil spill and making it harder to clean up. 
 
In 2010, a similar Enbridge tar sands pipeline ruptured into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, spilling 3 million litres of diluted bitumen. It was the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history. Cleanup has so far cost nearly $1 billion and is not yet complete.
 
“We can prevent a similar devastating spill in our region by acting locally when the permits are up for approval.” says Jolene Simko of Transition Kingston. “We’re inviting the community to learn about these issues and protect our water and wetlands by speaking up.”
 
The event to be held at Queen’s University will educate community members about the risks of Line 9 for Kingston, and discuss new opportunities for water protection in Ontario.
 
Interview opportunities: Adam Scott of Environmental Defence will be available to speak about the risks of Line 9. Claire Malcolmson of Environmental Defence will be available to speak about the new Great Lakes Protection Act being developed in Ontario and how this could create new ways to protect the water of Ontarians.
 
When: Monday, November 5
Where: Dupuis Hall, Queen’s University
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
For event details: http://environmentaldefence.ca/oil-and-water-kingston
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. (www.environmentaldefence.ca)
 
Transition Kingston is part of the international Transition movement. We are a local-action oriented group dedicated to moving communities away from oil dependence and toward environmental sustainability. (transitionkingston.blogspot.ca)
 
The Society for Conservation Biology is a local group committed to promoting environmental and conservation endeavors in the Kingston area. The society is composed entirely of volunteers from the community who meet weekly to discuss relevant current events, host guest speakers, and community outreach programs. (post.queensu.ca/~scb/chapter.htm)
 
-30-
 
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 258; 416-570-2878 (cell) ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca