It’s Official. Enbridge plans to have 300,000 barrels per day flowing through Line 9 as of November 1st … or so we thought. That was the case until the NEB declared Enbridge failed to meet Condition 16 of the Reasons for Decision and was therefore putting people and the environment at great risk.
Although the NEB conditionally approved Line 9 in March 2014, the NEB has now delayed the flow of oil another 90 days. That gives communities along Line 9 at least another 3 months of peace without 300,000 bpd of volatile Bakken crude – think Lac Megantic – and occasional batches of heavy oil sands – which we don’t know how to clean up – from traveling through their back yards. Same aging pipe. Same failing tape coating. Same thirst for oil and corporate profits putting us all at risk.
What I find most important to highlight is the same way Enbridge is dismissing and discrediting valid public concerns and continuing to act bigger than the regulators and laws they must abide by.
On August 14th, 2014, Enbridge notified the NEB that they were cancelling 150+ planned integrity digs because “many of the locations that had been selected for excavation did not meet the repair criteria”. That’s right. Enbridge KNOWS there are cracks in these locations, but they’re just not big enough to bother with right now.
On August 15th, 2014, Enbridge applied for partial relief of Condition 10 from the NEB Decision. Condition 10 requires Enbridge to repair specified integrity features in the pipeline sections between Sarnia and Montreal, based on the maximum operating pressure and integrity status information used in the Updated EA, at least 30 days prior to applying for leave to open (LTO). LTO is essentially permission to flow oil through the pipe. Enbridge is having difficulty completing four remaining digs. Three of those will be completed prior to LTO. They requested that the 4th be permitted to occur after LTO.
On September 12th, 2014, the NEB denied this request.
On October 6th, 2014, the NEB ruled that Enbridge had failed to meet Condition 16 by not installing valves within 1km of each side of major water crossings. As a result, they directed Enbridge to file, at least 90 days prior to applying for the final leave to open of the Project, a revised submission for Condition 16 of the Order.
After the Line 6B disaster, the US National Transportation Safety Board described Enbridge as having a “Culture of Deviance”. This was especially true considering Enbridge KNEW they had an issue (cracks) in the line at the spot that eventually ruptured. They just hadn’t been out to fix it yet. Enbridge also took 17 hours to realize they had a problem and stop the flow of oil. See my post on the Line 6B Disaster. Apparently 3,000,000L of oil in the Kalamazoo River wasn’t enough incentive to err on the side of caution … It doesn’t appear much has changed since then.