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Enbridge pipeline: municipalities join forces with citizens’ and environmental groups to express concern

Montreal, October 1, 2013 – In anticipation of the National Energy Board hearing next week in Montreal on Enbridge’s proposed Line 9B reversal and Line 9 capacity expansion project, municipalities are joining forces with citizens’ and environmental groups to reiterate safety and environmental concerns about the project.

“Unfortunately, Enbridge has not, to date, demonstrated sound risk management practices. Our main concern is to protect the drinking water supply for Montreal residents,” explains Josée Duplessis, chair of Montreal’s executive committee for sustainable development, environment, large parks and green spaces.

The Quebec stretch of the Enbridge pipeline crosses the Ottawa River, which supplies drinking water to more than two million people living in the Montreal area. This project would also lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Because of these concerns, Montreal officials voted unanimously on April 22, 2013 to ask the Quebec government to conduct an environmental assessment of the Enbridge project,” says Christian Dubois, the executive-committee member responsible for public security in Montreal.

“By allowing Enbridge to use the pipeline to bring tar sands crude through Quebec, this project will contribute to a significant increase in the greenhouse gas emissions for the city of Montreal, as well as for Quebec and for Canada, mainly by making it possible to ramp up tar sands production, even though tar sands oil is one of the most polluting oils on the planet to produce,” says Steven Guilbeault, senior director of Equiterre.

“Citizens are concerned. The National Energy Board has made it so much more difficult for us to take part in hearings to the point that we’re afraid that we won’t be able to make our voices heard on the issue at all in Quebec. We want a comprehensive environmental assessment. All aspects of a project must be taken into account before it can be accepted,” says Audrey Yank on behalf of the Coalition Vigilance Oléoducs, an organization representing residents living along Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline.

“Enbridge is ignoring the risks associated with using a 38-year-old pipeline. During the various meetings we’ve had with the company, we’ve never had the impression that Enbridge wants to cooperate in a healthy, straightforward way,” adds Patricia Domingos, mayor of Sainte-Justine-de-Newton, a community along the Line 9 pipeline.

“It’s been almost a year since Quebec promised an environmental assessment of this project. It’s time to make it official, to disclose the parameters. This project poses a major risk to local populations, and contributes to the climate crisis. Quebec can no longer remain on the sidelines as the Harper government alone decides our future,” says Patrick Bonin, climate and energy director for Greenpeace Canada.

Given that Enbridge spilled an average of 1.9 million litres of oil a year in North America between 2007 and 2012, several municipalities have proposed the creation of a fund to be used in the case of a disaster. They are also seeking a research fund to identify best practices for:

• transporting crude oil
• recovering crude oil from the bottoms of waterways
• preserving pipeline security and integrity
• improving techniques
• spill prevention

The municipalities and groups also point out that Enbridge has not brought forward any new information that would render an environmental assessment by the government of Quebec no longer necessary.

N.B.: The National Energy Board hearings on Enbridge’s proposed Line 9B reversal and Line 9 capacity expansion project begin on October 8 at the Palais des congrès in Montreal.

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For more information:

Julie Tremblay, media relations, Equiterre
514-605-2000 / jtremblay@equiterre.org