CORNWALL — Safety issues and environmental concerns over two proposed pipeline projects were the focus of a meeting held at the Benson Centre in Cornwall Wednesday night.
Approximately 35 people listened while presenters Sabrina Bowman and Ben Powless spokeout about Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline that runs from Montreal to Sarnia and crosses through SD&G just north of Highway 401, and TransCanada’s Energy East project which adds a section of pipe from Iroquois to Montreal before connecting to an existing pipeline that finishes in St. John’s, New Brunswick.
Bowman called the Line 9 project an all risk – no reward program.
“The proposal on the table is to reverse that direction to run it from Westover to Montreal and to run the entire thing from Sarnia to Montreal with tar sands oil which it has never run before,” said Bowman, adding the major concerns regarding moving the tar sands product through the 38-year-old pipeline is the risk of the pipes bursting and causing massive environmental damages.
She said communities across Canada were expected to take all the risk of having the pipelines go through their communities without getting any of the reward as Canada is currently not equipped to refine the tar sands products and it must be exported to other countries.
Bowman said that the tar sands in Canada, located mostly in Alberta, will have to be expanded in order to accommodate both of the pipeline projects on the table.
“(The tar sands) is a huge industrial project and also one of the biggest contributors to Canada’s climate change impact,” claimed Bowman.
Powell, from Ecology Ottawa, further attacked the tar sands, claiming people are getting sick, some species in the area are being affected and it is having a major impact on First Nations culture and environment.
Both Bowman and Powess claim the biggest issue with both Enbridge and TransCanada is a lack of transparency in coming forward with safety issues and answering environmental concerns.
Local environmentalist Elaine Kennedy said she is pulled several ways with regards to the pipelines.
“I am against the piping of any petroleum products to the east coast to be refined, and shipped to other countries while we, east of the Manitoba border, are forced to use oil brought in from other nations,” she said. She added that she is for the refining of oil products in Canada for use by Canadians first before being sold elsewhere.
“My main problem with looking at the pipeline is the other alternatives,” she said. “Until the whole world starts reducing its petroleum product demand, the stuff is going to be produced and delivered,” she said. Kennedy said with the recent tragedy at Lac Magantec and other derailments, rail transportation is not entirely safe and the idea of having numerous tanker trucks carrying the tar sand products across the highways was not an ideal situation either, leaving pipelines as the best alternative.
However, Kennedy said that before any more work is done on pipelines, she proposed that a moratorium be placed on every existing pipeline project until an independent study can be done looking into the risks, the safety measures needed to minimize these risks and the cost of these changes.
She also proposed that during this moratorium, each company involved must submit to an audit regarding their safety measures, their environmental practices and their compliance with codes and regulations.
Finally, she added the government must create a strategy that ensures Canada’s energy security and the ecological sustainability of the earth.
“The government must give it some teeth so our people and our earth are protected,” she said.
Kennedy advised the audience to sign petitions and contact local governments to express concerns over the safety of pipelines.…