Enbridge caught with dangerous exposed oil pipeline in future National Park
Toronto, ON – Amid growing controversy over numerous pipeline spills, Enbridge has been caught leaving one of its aging oil pipelines exposed to the elements in the Rouge River. Intended to be buried, the pipe instead sits vulnerable to tree branches or ice, raising the risk of a spill—incredibly, in what’s soon to be Canada’s first urban national park.
“I don’t want to think about what might happen if this pipeline leaks into the river. It could permanently damage the park, endanger thousands of people and seep into Lake Ontario,” said Adam Scott of Environmental Defence, a charity that seeks to prevent pollution like this. But pollution has seemed to follow Enbridge—which wants to build the risky and controversial Northern Gateway pipeline through northern Alberta and B.C.—of late.
It has been under fire for its poor safety record in recent months. Enbridge was fined by authorities for causing the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history, spilling 3 million litres of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. A U.S. government report said Enbridge behaved like ‘Keystone Kops’ in the disaster, which cost almost $1 billion to clean up.
Last Saturday, Enbridge suffered its latest in a string of major oil spills, when it dumped 140,000 litres of oil in Wisconsin, raising serious questions about the company’s safety practices.
The aging pipeline lying exposed in the Rouge River, known as ‘Line 9’, currently carries oil from Montreal to Sarnia, but Enbridge has plans to reverse its direction to carry riskier tar sands oil eastward. Unlike normal oil, tar sands oil sinks after a spill instead of floating, making it much harder to clean up. The National Energy Board approved the first phase of this reversal last Friday, and Enbridge has stated it intends to apply for the second phase soon.
The goal of the reversal is to create an eastern distribution network for tar sands oil. The proposed western route, which would terminate in northern B.C. before massive tankers take the fuel to China, created the biggest dispute at last week’s premiers’ conference. “B.C. isn’t the only province being asked to shoulder the risks of an oil spill with little in return,” Scott continued. “Enbridge’s ‘Line 9’ pipeline project threatens much of southern Ontario and the Great Lakes with an oil disaster. The risks outweigh any benefits, just ask people in Michigan.”
The federal government recently announced plans to make Rouge Park the first National Urban Park in Canada. Much of the 50 square kilometre park lies downstream of the oil pipeline.
Photos of the exposed pipeline can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/environmentaldefence/7692693308/
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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