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Pipeline Enbridge 9B: Hydrostatic tests requested on ALL of Enbridge’s Line 9B, not just 3 segments

Montréal, 22th July 2015 – Équiterre and Les Citoyens au Courant, a group of citizens living along the route of pipeline Enbridge 9B are requesting hydrostatic tests on ALL of Line 9B, and not just on 3 segments of the pipeline as it was ordered by the National Energy Board (NEB) on June 18th 2015.

Enbridge Line 9B is a 40-year old pipeline scheduled for major changes. First, the NEB gave the green light to Enbridge to start pumping 300,000 barrels a day of diluted bitumen through the ageing pipeline. Then the NEB reacted to municipal demands to carry out an integrity test using pressurized water called a hydrostatic test. This test proves whether a pipeline has pinhole leaks that can lead to rupture, and whether it can be used safely under the proposed operating pressure.

US pipeline safety expert, Richard Kuprewicz has examined the NEB order and notes:

“Hydrotesting is the gold standard for validating the integrity of Line pipe for the threats demonstrated to exist on Line 9 and 9B…The reasoning for why hydrotesting is limited to only 3 specific segments (claimed to have the highest probability of failure) has not been sufficiently, nor adequately, demonstrated”.

Lorraine Caron PhD, spokeperson for Les Citoyens au Courant agrees: “We are not satisfied with the NEB decision, and upon careful analysis of the order we have concluded that the reasons given by the NEB to justify its decision appears to stem from convenience rather than for public safety concerns.”

Les Citoyens au Courant recently submitted a request for an administrative review with the NEB (in French) to demand a re-evaluation of their June 18th decision ordering a partial hydrostatic test on 10% of the pipeline in Québec, hoping that through this process the public will get explanations on:

WHY, in view of the densely populated areas and the number of critical watersheds crossed by the pipeline, the NEB is not ordering hydrostatic testing of the whole pipeline?

WHY, given the unacceptable number of false negative in-line inspection results on Line 9 is the NEB still ignoring independent expert advice, and not ordering hydrotesting of the entire Line 9?

WHY was the whole pipeline hydrotested 19 years ago before its first flow reversal, and not this time?

WHY these 3 pipeline segments have been chosen and according to which engineering model do they represent the entire pipeline?

WHY the complete data set used to select the 3 segments to be tested is not being released for independent review?

“Équiterre believes the Line 9B reversal project will increase tar sands production and could compromise the safety of potable water sources of millions of people living in the Greater Montreal Area”, says Geneviève Aude Puskas, Mobilization Officer Équiterre.

Citoyens au Courant group expects the NEB to answer by August 21st.

Citoyens au Courant wishes to thank the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE) for its legal assistance in preparing the request to NEB.

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SOURCE: Équiterre and Les Citoyens au courant

For information:
Lorraine Caron 
Member of Citoyens au Courant
514-577-2644 / caronlor@yahoo.com 514-746-6597

For legal information:
Lorraine Caron Me Karine Péloffy, Director
Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement
514-746-6597 / karine.peloffy@cqde.org

Geneviève Aude Puskas, Équiterre, 514-792-5222, gpuskas@equiterre.org