Exxon’s tar sands oil spill shows risks of Enbridge’s Line 9 project for Ontario and Quebec

By: Obert Madondo The Canadian Progressive

Ruptured Enbridge Pipeline from Kalamazoo Spill Credit NTSBLast Friday’s ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline disaster in Mayflower, Arkansas, should warn Canadians against Enbridge’s proposed Line 9 project, says Environmental Defence. The Pegasus pipeline raptured and spilled more than 318,000 litres of tar sands oil into a local neighborhood and near a lake. Local residents had to be evacuated.

Environmental Defence, a non-partisan environmental charity, says Line 9 poses serious risks to drinking water and the environment in neighborhoods, cities and farms in Ontario and Quebec.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u30m8U6VP3E]

From Environmental Defence, this press release:

Following the serious rupture of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas, Environmental Defence is calling for an urgent environmental assessment of Enbridge’s request to reverse its Line 9 and ship more dangerous heavy oil through this aging pipeline, which runs through Ontario and Quebec. Enbridge’s Line 9 proposal mirrors Exxon’s actions on Pegasus and highlights the risks of the Line 9 project.

On Friday, the Pegasus pipeline spilled at least 318,000 litres of tar sands oil and forced 22 families to evacuate their homes in the town of Mayflower, Arkansas.

“The image of thick toxic oil gushing from a pipeline isn’t something I want to see in Toronto, or anywhere in Ontario or Quebec,” said Adam Scott of Environmental Defence. “We need to learn the lesson and look at the full risks to drinking water and our environment of Enbridge’s Line 9 proposal.”

Enbridge is seeking permission to reverse its Line 9 pipeline, change what runs through the pipeline to heavy oil which could include tar sands oil, and increase the amount of oil pushed through it each day by 60,000 barrels. In 2006, Exxon reversed the Pegasus pipeline and began sending tar sands oil through it, and increased the volume of oil by 30,000 barrels per day in 2009.

Line 9 runs between Sarnia and Montreal, through farms, cities and neighbourhoods, and crosses every Ontario river flowing into Lake Ontario, the drinking water for millions of Canadians. When spilled, tar sands ‘diluted bitumen’ carries serious health risks and is harder, and more expensive, to clean up.

“We have an opportunity to prevent another tar sands oil disaster from happening. Line 9 is three times the size of the Pegasus pipeline,” Scott said. “It’s time we learned that tar sands pipelines carry huge risks and few rewards.”

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all. (www.environmentaldefence.ca)

Cross-posted on Canada Petro State

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He's the founder and editor of these independent publications: The Canadian Progressive, a political blog dedicated to progressive Canadian journalism; The Zimbabwean Progressive, a political blog dedicated to producing fearless, progressive, adversarial, unapologetic, and activism-oriented Zimbabwean journalism; and Charity Files, a publication dedicated to journalism in the charitable public's interest. Follow Obert on Twitter: @Obiemad