Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring says he is continuing to work with city staff to determine how to best respond to the Enbridge pipeline 9 reversal project.
After hearing delegations on the issue from BurlingtonGreen, Environmental Defence and the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee at the last Development and Infrastructure Committee meeting, Goldring said he would look into whether the city could request the province to conduct an environmental assessment.
The mayor told the Post following a meeting at city hall Friday afternoon that he and city staff hadn’t yet determined how to best address the proposed pipeline reversal.
Enbridge has asked the National Energy Board to allow the reversal of oil from west to east in an 830-kilometre pipeline between Sarnia and Montreal.
It is looking to increase the capacity of oil from 240,000 to 300,000 barrels per day.
Enbridge is also asking for a revision to the line 9 rules and regulations tariff to allow transportation of heavy crude.
The 30-inch diameter pipeline was built in the mid-1970s and became operational in 1976.
The National Energy Board has already approved the flow reversal for the portion of pipeline between Sarnia and Flamborough.
Enbridge recently submitted an application for the reversal from Flamborough to Montreal.
Environmental groups have appealed to Burlington city council to get involved in the issue, even though the project is under the jurisdiction of the National Energy Board and does not require any municipal approvals or permits.
Lobbyists say the city needs to be proactive since the pipeline cuts across Burlington, north of No. 1 Side Road.
The delegations Monday night by BurlingtonGreen, Environmental Defence and Burlington Sustainable Development Committee outlined a number of concerns, such as the impact on the pipeline of transporting heavier oil products at increased capacities, cleanup plans and cost responsibilities of possible spills, the long-lasting impact of spills of heavier oil products like diluted bitumen, health and environmental impacts of drag-reducing agents added to heavy crude oil in the case of a spill, as well as possible contamination of Burlington land and waterways from a leak or spill.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was repealed earlier this year, meaning an environmental assessment is not required by the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for the pipeline reversal proposal.
The National Energy Board (NEB) is still required to consider the environmental impacts of the project.
Scott Stewart, the city’s general manager of development and infrastructure, pondered at last Monday’s meeting whether this was an issue the citizens of Burlington could also mobilize on, similar to the Niagara to Greater Toronto Area highway.
Comments on the pipeline reversal proposal can be sent directly to the National Energy Board.
To view the project application and the contact information for the process advisor, visit the National Energy Board’s website here.
To view the city staff report, click here.