Trailbreaker: National Energy Board okays partial Line 9 reversal, because why?
In a decision issued late last Friday night, the National Energy Board has allowed Enbridge to reverse the flow of oil in the section of the Line 9 pipeline between Sarnia and Westover, Ontario.
"A few weeks ago, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board severely reprimanded Enbridge for the largest oil spill in the history of the United States in Michigan, in 2010. Just this last Friday, Enbridge spilled another 1200 barrels of crude oil into a Wisconsin field. But the NEB refused to hear reason, and endorsed the section reversal without even studying the impact of a tar sands crude spill on Canadian soil," explained Steven Guilbeault, deputy executive director of Equiterre.
This decision advances the Trailbreaker project, which seeks to secure easier access to tar sands crude for refineries on the east coast of North America as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. It would bring tar sands crude through Montreal – the second largest city in Canada – and would require the construction of a new pumping station in the rural community of Dunham in the Eastern Townships, as well as changes to an existing station in Terrebonne.
The pipelines in question are old, used, and, in any case, were not designed to transport this kind of heavy tar sands crude. The risk of an oil spill is very real indeed – and coming closer.