Line 9 - Tar Sands

A proposal to bring dirty tar sands oil through Ontario & Quebec

Tar sands oil is more dangerous to ship through pipelines than normal oil. There is evidence that pipelines carrying tar sands oil spill more frequently than those carrying normal oil.
 
Line 9 is an aging oil pipeline owned by Enbridge Inc. that runs through some of the most densely populated parts of Canada. The 38-year-old pipeline now carries conventional oil across Ontario and Quebec. Enbridge wants to use the line to ship heavy crude, which includes ultra-heavy tar sands oil. The pipeline was not built for this purpose.
 
Enbridge’s application to reverse Line 9and change what goes through Line 9 is part of a larger plan to export tar sands oil east through Canada and the U.S. Line 9 would carry tar sands oil to Montreal and it is expected that a second pipeline will be reversed to carry the oil south to Portland, Maine for export.
 
Enbridge’s Line 9 proposal carries many risks, but few rewards for communities along the pipeline’s route. The proposal puts the drinking water of millions at risk of an oil spill.
 
National Energy Board decision
 
We were deeply disappointed by the National Energy Board’s rubber-stamp approval of this unnecessary and dangerous oil pipeline project. The NEB’s decision to allow Line 9 without meaningful conditions despite concerns from experts, stakeholders and governments shows that the federal process for reviewing pipeline proposals is broken and can’t do its job of protecting Canadians’ safety from risky energy projects.
 
How you can helpTake Action here and tell the federal government to fix our broken regulatory system.
 
View a detailed map of the pipeline’s route here.
 
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Hamilton Toronto Kingston Cornwall Pipeline Anywhere

In this area Line 9 crosses creeks draining into Hamilton Harbour and lake Ontario. They include Grindstone Creek, Bronte Creek, and 16 Mile Creek.

Line 9 Crosses all of the major rivers in the GTA. These include the Credit, Humber, Don, and Rouge Rivers, all of which drain into Lake Ontario, the source of drinking water for millions of people. Environmental Defence has discovered the pipeline dangerously exposed in the Rouge River, threatening this ecologically sensitive area and future National Park.

Line 9 runs just north of Kingston, crossing the Cataraqui River, which is part of the Rideau Canal system.

The pipeline crosses through the Cornwall area, threatening small local waterways like the Raisin River and the entire St. Lawrence with the threat of an oil spill

A related project is being planned to ship the unrefined tar sands oil from Montreal, Quebec down to Portland, Maine for export on tankers. Click here for more information on the PMPL pipeline proposal.

More dangerous tar sands oil will be shipped through the pipe. Instead of normal crude oil, Enbridge wants to ship diluted bitumen, or “dilbit.” Dilbit is more corrosive to pipelines, acting like a hot liquid sandpaper, raising the risk of pipeline failure. It is harder to clean up, because unlike normal oil it sinks in water, coating river or lake beds. And, it is very toxic, containing a cocktail of nasty chemicals that make people sick when exposed: benzene, toluene, and hydrogen sulphide.

The Risks of Tar Sands Oil

When tar sands oil spills, it can damage both human health and the environment. An Enbridge tar sands oil spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010, caused people to permanently lose their homes and severely impacted people’s health. A more recent tar sands spill in Mayflower, Arkansas saw suburban streets coated in thick, sludgy tar sands oil, resulting in the long-term evacuation of homes.
 
Tar sands oil has such a thick consistency, that it can’t flow through a pipeline without being diluted with highly toxic chemicals. When diluted tar sands oil spills into water, the condensate evaporates, creating a toxic, carcinogenic cloud. Most of the heavy bitumen remains and can sink, coating the bottom of the lake or river with thick goo, making it much more difficult to clean up than a conventional oil spill.
 
Tar sands oil is also a lot more expensive to clean up. The oil spill in the Kalamazoo River has cost more than $1 billion and the cleanup is still not yet finished over three years later. The pipeline that spilled into the Kalamazoo River was a similar age and design as Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline.
 
To learn more about the risks of Enbridge’s Line 9 proposal, click here.

Our Broken Regulatory System

Recent changes to federal environmental laws have removed vital environmental protection measures, exempted pipeline projects from environmental assessments, and put up barriers to public participation in National Energy Board hearings. As a result, the National Energy Board process is not up to the task of protecting the best interest of the public. We are calling on provincial governments to step in protect the health and safety of their residents by reviewing the Line 9 and other dangerous pipeline proposals independently.
 
How you can help: Take Action here and tell Ontario to step in to protect its residents from this risky proposal.