BELLEVILLE – John Lewis does not want his community’s health put at risk but that is exactly what could happen when it comes to a nearby pipeline, says the Quinte area resident.
That fear prompted Lewis to organize a community forum Monday evening to inform residents about the Line 9 pipeline that runs just north of Belleville’s urban centre. The 630-kilometre pipeline runs from Sarnia to Montreal and, due to changing economics, the company that operates it, Enbridge, hopes to alter the flow of the line bringing western Canadian oil to Ontario and Quebec refineries. It’s a change that includes increasing the pipe’s capacity by 25 per cent.
As well, environmentalists have concerns over the fact the company wants to use the line as a conduit to ship tar sands oil -a substance called diluted bitumen.
Lewis said he wanted to bring the 30 people together Monday to ensure more residents are aware of the plans. Enbridge held an information session in Thurlow this past summer.
“In my opinion, there’s nothing currently in the system that’s going to stop this so, in the long run, if we’re going to make some progress it’ll be in the streets. We have to make politicians pay for not being much more concerned about the safety of Ontarians,” he said.
The pipeline’s age, Lewis said, is one of his main concerns.
The pipeline is 38-years-old and has not been properly maintained, he argued.
“It has potential for all kinds of problems,” said Lewis. “I just want people to be aware and know what’s happening.”
Sabrina Bowman, climate campaign co-ordinator with Environmental Defence Canada, shed light on those issues noting Enbridge needs to be held accountable and more residents should be made aware of the risk the line and the proposed changes holds.
“The pipeline is not well maintained and the change means a different kind of oil will be running at a much higher pressure and much higher frequency. The pipeline’s never been run at that pressure so there’s a tremendous risk and we really don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
When Enbridge gave its presentation in June, however, public affairs senior advisor Ken Hall said “there’s no evidence to prove that pipelines rupture or fail more often if they’re carrying heavy crude oil.”
Bowman said the company has nothing to worry about because it has nothing to lose.
“In most of the communities along the pipeline, especially in Ontario, there’s absolutely no benefit, it’s all risk and no reward for communities like Belleville, Trenton, Kingston… We’re shouldering a tremendous risk for Enbridge and they’re not really worried about it. They don’t think the risk is severe enough to warrant not doing this.”
http://www.intelligencer.ca/2013/11/04/pipeline-concerns-voiced-at-commu…