On October 16th, 2013, I presented the following speech to the NEB in Toronto, ON
Emily Ferguson – Final Oral Evidence
Good afternoon Mme Chair and Members of the Board.
My name is Emily Ferguson. I am a concerned citizen who opposes the Enbridge Line 9 project. I am here to present my own views. I am not paid by or affiliated with any organization, interest group, or political lobby. My sole purpose of being here today is to express my concern for my community and all other communities along Line 9.
Although we may not find common ground in ideology, we are built upon the foundation of similar values. We all want to be safe, happy, healthy, and to have a secure economic future. Most of us also place an incalculable value on the environment and the overwhelming benefits which a healthy biosphere provides.
I must note that it is unfortunate the scope of this project has been so limited. By excluding the environmental and socio-economic effects associated with upstream activities, the development of oil sands, and the downstream use of the oil transported by the pipeline, we are attempting to debate an energy project as if it is disconnected from the bigger picture of climate change and our addiction to fossil fuels.
In accordance with the procedural guidelines before me, I will keep my comments herein restricted to the following issues:
Issue number 5, 6, 8, and 9.
I grew up in Glenburnie, just north of Kingston, Ontario and attended Glenburnie Public School, which is within 200m of the pipeline. I later moved on to attend post secondary education in both North York and Hamilton, all the while having no idea I was living along the Enbridge Line 9 right of way. Having spent my entire life near the pipeline, I am extremely concerned about the lack of public awareness and community consultation completed by Enbridge.
I had many conversations with Glenburnie residents this spring. When I realized that not one … not a single one of them even knew the pipeline existed … there was much more work to be done. Residents were fully aware of the TransCanada gas line. But they were shocked, angered, in total disbelief that oil was flowing through their communities without their knowledge.
Please keep in mind that these reactions encompass public schools, personal businesses, the local fire department, home owners of 20+ years and management at Glenhaven Memorial Gardens.
I stand before you as an individual, but I am here in spirit with my grandmother – Eva Simkins – who passed away in April of this year from cancer and now rests at her memorial at Glenhaven, less than 600m from the pipeline.
I sincerely thank you for the opportunity to participate in this hearing and am grateful to be standing before you today.
I am worried about the integrity of the aging pipeline and preparedness of Enbridge and communities along the line in the event of a spill. If so many people were left in the dark … knew nothing about the mere presence of the pipeline … how could they be expected to react to a spill?
While completing my studies at McMaster University, I attended Line 9 meetings in Hamilton and Burlington. At the Hamilton Conservation Authority meeting, I asked Enbridge representatives if I could have the same information provided to council. They were more than happy to provide me with this package. It contained very useful information about the exact pipeline route and valve location in that local area.
However, when I requested one of these packages at the Halton Conservation meeting, it was a very different story. After the presentation to council, I approached the same Enbridge representatives and asked for a locally relevant package. Rather than provide the information as was done in the first meeting, I was asked “Who are you working for?”
I explained that I was a concerned citizen and was trying to learn more about the proposed project, but was told I could not be given a package for “security reasons” and instead was asked for my name, address, and contact information for future follow up by the company.
I went home that night thinking … if this is how Enbridge treats people in the community, no wonder my friends and family in the Kingston and Greater Toronto Area knew nothing of the pipeline.
I realized someone had to provide detailed maps to the over 9 million people living along the pipeline. My mandate was simple … I just want people to know. They have the right to know what is flowing through their communities … they have the right to ask the tough questions and Enbridge has the moral responsibility to provide them with complete answers.
As I polled communities along the line, their number one question was the exact location of the pipeline. Enbridge was not providing the answers.
I took it upon myself to map out the entire Line 9B pipeline using Google street view. I then cross referenced my maps with the Enbridge maps document found at B11-4 Attachment 1 to NEB IR 2.7.
Suddenly, this became a much bigger project than polling residents in my childhood neighbourhood. I moved beyond Glenburnie and in an attempt to inform all communities along the pipeline, I created the website line9communities.com to raise awareness and promote a community discussion.
In the past 7 months, since I launched the website, there have been 1,649 views on local maps alone! This demonstrates that many people along the entire length of the pipeline are unaware of its location. Visitors to the website were looking for basic information on location and pipeline integrity. They wanted to know … Is it in my community and is this project safe? Enbridge was not providing them with satisfactory answers. This is one of the many examples where communities along the line had very valid concerns, which were not properly addressed by Enbridge.
Communities want to know that the pipeline is in top condition and free of cracks, dents, and corrosion. The website received 637 views to pipeline integrity pages. On these pages, I took my local maps and added the mile post references found on the Enbridge maps at B11-4 Attachment 1 to NEB IR 2.7.
I created an excel spreadsheet to compile operations and maintenance activities that Enbridge had filed with the NEB. This data was collected back to 2005, which is the furthest back made public on the NEB site.
Please bring up document C49-4-35 – Attachment 34 to Emily Ferguson Written Evidence.
This is my spreadsheet updated until August 7th, 2013. Please slowly scroll down the document until page 9.
This is where the 2013 integrity digs begin. Please pay special attention to the amount of cracks, corrosion, and dents which will require excavation. This is unprecedented when compared to the past 8 years of operation and maintenance notifications by Enbridge on Line 9.
However, we should not feel reassured by the amount of work and money being spent investigating these anomalies in pipeline integrity. Instead, I urge the NEB to take a step back and consider the frightening prevalence of problems along this aging and under-used line.
As referenced in my final written evidence, paragraph 81, I indicated that I would continue to update the pipeline integrity chart and highlight important features and locations which were most relevant at the time of the hearing.
Since submitting this spreadsheet to the NEB, there have been an additional 129 cracks, 22 dents, and 1 corrosion issue filed by Enbridge along Line 9. To date, this brings the integrity issues along Line 9 to 266 cracks, 56 dents, and 9 corrosion issues announced in 2013 alone!
On the Line 9 Communities website, I broke the local maps down into 5 mile segments and then posted the corresponding integrity data below. By publishing this information in a clear, concise and easily understood manner, I was able to provide communities along the line with some answers to their concerns. Unfortunately, the data is not the least bit reassuring.
As of October 7th, 2013, between mile posts 1970 and 1980, there were 61 cracks and 3 dents which will require excavation. Let’s take a moment to consider that this is just one 10 mile stretch of the pipeline … with 61 cracks!
The problem is, citizens do not understand mile posts and Enbridge operations and maintenance activities do not make reference to the cities where the digs are located. To Enbridge, mile posts 1970 to 1980 represent work sites … to the public, mile posts 1970 to 1980 represent the communities between Port Hope and Cobourg.
I urge the NEB to pay special attention to these integrity digs and whether there are multiple features along the same area of pipe.
Please bring up document number C21-3-5 – Attachment 3 Pt 1 NTSB Report and scroll to page xii – Executive Summary. Regarding the Enbridge Line 6B disaster:
QUOTE: “The rupture and prolonged release were made possible by pervasive organizational failures at Enbridge.”
I would like to draw your attention to the three bullet points, but specifically the first and the third.
The NTSB clearly states that there were:
QUOTE: “Deficient integrity management procedures, which allowed well-documented crack defects in corroded areas to propagate until the pipeline failed.”
In other words, Enbridge new they had a problem in the aging Line 6B, and did not react in time.
The NTSB further explains in bullet point three that there was:
QUOTE: “Insufficient public awareness and education, which allowed the release to continue for nearly 14 hours after the first notification of an odor to local emergency response agencies.”
I would like to bring us all back to my childhood community – Glenburnie. Much like small town Marshall, Michigan, Glenburnie is rural, close knit, and residents know nothing about the Enbridge pipeline!
Computerized monitoring systems do not catch 100% of leaks, so Enbridge relies on eyes on the ground to notify them of suspicious odours or oil slicks. In communities such as Glenburnie, the failure of Enbridge to adequately raise public awareness could result in a situation much like the 3,000,000L Line 6B spill.
If residents are not even aware of a pipeline in their community, how would they know to contact emergency officials about an oil like odour, rather than check their car or lawn mower for a leak?
In the PHMSA Enforcement Action against Enbridge for the 2010 Michigan Oil Spill, Enbridge was fined a $3.7 million civil penalty, in part, due to their lack of public consultation. As mentioned by many other intervenors in this process, I do not believe that Enbridge has improved their public awareness program.
Please bring up document C49-4-21 – Attachment 20
It is no wonder that people in communities along the line are unaware. Not only is there a lack of personal contact with Enbridge, but the pipeline is poorly marked and seemingly forgotten under parking lots, community gardens, and businesses. There are numerous cases where large items including barns, sheds, trailers, vehicles and pavement encroach on the right of way.
In addition to this photo, I respectfully request that you review all other pipeline photos I submitted as attachments to my final written evidence.
Notification of Open Houses
When asked about the poor attendance at a Corbyville open house, Enbridge officials declared that “People just don’t care”. However, through multiple conversations with residents along the line, I am convinced that people do care. The difference is that people are lacking information.
Please bring up document C49-4-10 – Attachment 9
Prior to the Corbyville open house, I knocked door to door in the area to make sure residents whose houses backed right on to the right of way knew about the open house. None of them had any knowledge of the meeting and some residents didn’t even know the Enbridge Line 9 oil pipeline shared the right of way with the TransCanada gas line behind their homes. Once again, this is largely due to inadequate signage.
Enbridge had published an ad in a few newspapers in the Belleville area, but did not bother to notify people who have the pipeline literally in their back yard.
On June 4th, 2013, I notified the Glenburnie area city councillor about the June 5th Enbridge Kingston open house. Regardless of the fact that he is the councillor for the affected area AND resides in the community, Enbridge did not invite him to the meeting. If this is any indication of Enbridge’s notification of other open houses, the lack of attendance is not surprising.
Enbridge conveys the idea that people don’t show up to open houses, because they don’t care. They quote, “have other things on their radar”.
I handed out small paper slips during the Kingston Canada Day parade. These slips had a few quick facts about the project and the www.line9communities.com website. After handing out almost 500 slips, the website saw no increase in visits. This experiment proved what Enbridge already knows. When you reach out to a population who is not directly affected, they show very little interest in the information being provided. The failure of gaining visitors to the site through this method reflects the lack of attendance at Enbridge open houses after they filed the required general newspaper advertisements.
Information Request Responses
It is important to note that numerous of my Information Requests were not adequately answered by Enbridge. Like many other intervenors, I was told I was engaging on a “fishing expedition” when I asked direct and relevant questions. The role of an intervenor in this process in engaging the proponent into meaningful discussion is questionable at best.
Enbridge failed to provide me with a copy of their Canadian Public Awareness Policy (PAP).
- This is an essential document because the public availability of the PAP is essential to holding Enbridge accountable for public safety and consultation.
- Being a publicly traded company, Enbridge must uphold any statements made in print. In other words, a publicly available PAP would ensure that residents know what is expected of Enbridge and as a result, Enbridge would be held accountable to maintaining high levels of public awareness.
- In Emily Ferguson IR 1.2, Enbridge stated “Enbridge educates the public about pipeline safety and the location of the pipeline through a Public Awareness Program as well as all landowners within 60m of the pipeline ROW according to regulations. Enbridge notifies the public within 200m of the pipeline of proposed changes in pipeline operation.” This statement is not true. I have made contact with residents living within 200m of the pipeline who knew nothing about the proposed changes.
I would like to draw your attention to important information that was answered in Enbridge’s response to intervenors.
1. The MSDS sheets provided to Les Citoyens au Courant IR 5.17.b. clearly indicate that the potential products to be shipped through Line 9 are extremely hazardous to human health. The risk of sending these products through an aging pipeline is too high!
- There has been mention in this proceeding that the drag reducing agent injected at pumping stations along the line will not be hazardous to human health and has been used safely in other Enbridge pipelines.
- However, I urge you to question this statement. Small leaks in pipelines can go undetected and leach into soil and ground water. Residents in the Glenburnie area and many other rural communities along the line rely on well water.
- I urge you to question how the failure of leak detection systems and how the addition of DRA could impact these communities if pin hole leaks slowly leach toxic chemicals into the drinking water of communities along the line.
- Consider this … until Rachel Carson raised the red flag about the potential long term health effects of DDT, we continually exposed our communities to small doses of this carcinogenic chemical.
2. In Emily Ferguson IR 1.33, 1.34, 1.35, Enbridge explained that out of 51 valves along Line 9B, only 43 can be closed automatically by the Edmonton Control Centre. This leaves 8 valves which would require a field technician on site in the event of an emergency.
- As other intervenors have already pointed out, some of these manual valves are located in rural areas where the only access road is snow covered and impassible in the winter months.
3. In Emily Ferguson IR 1.40, Enbridge stated “After pipe repairs are complete, the steel is cleaned of deleterious materials and abrasively blasted. Coating is then selected and applied in accordance with CSA Z662”.
- Please note, the original pipeline coating still exists on much of Line 9. This single layer of polyethylene tape met the standards of CSA Z183-1973, but is now known to disbond from pipelines in moist conditions.
- The single layer of polyethylene tape coating does not meet the present day engineering standards of CSA Z662.
- If we know that there is a better pipeline coating option, why are we not demanding that Enbridge upgrade and recoat the entire line in order to protect our communities?
4. In Emily Ferguson IR 2, Question 3.b. response, Enbridge admitted that they do not conduct foot patrols in the Belleville to Brockville area.
- How can Enbridge fulfill the promise of monitoring the pipeline properly as outlined in the Application, if they do not conduct foot patrols along the entire line?
5. Enbridge denied to provide a response to the following important questions in Emily Ferguson IR 1.26:
- Please provide details of what was completed during the excavations of Line 9B which took place at the following mile posts (MP) as filed to the NEB on the following dates. If a repair was required, please indicate whether it was sleeving, recoating, pipeline replacement, etc. AND the date of when the repair was finished.
- Essentially, I wanted to know if integrity digs were resulting in actual repairs to pipeline defects, or just taking a closer look and determining cracks, dents, and corrosion did not meet the Enbridge threshold for repair.
- I urge the NEB to have Enbridge publicly provide results of Line 9 integrity digs including whether a repair was completed and details of the remedy.
6. I would like to draw the NEB’s attention to the length of pipeline between valves.
- For example, Valve 25 would have been in the Glenburnie area, but was never installed. Enbridge did not respond to my request to provide a reason for this, or what the proposed location of this valve was.
- Additionally, Valve 24 is located in Odessa, ON and Valve 26 in Glenburnie, ON. As per the answer to Emily Ferguson IR 1.36, there are approx. 12 miles between these valves. At 187,472 US gallons per mile, this represents 2,249,664 US gallons of oil between valves at 300,000bpd. If there was a rupture between these valves, there is the potential for three times the amount spilled during the 2010 Line 6B disaster to be spilled in my community.
In order to gain knowledge about the 2010 Line 6B Kalamazoo spill, I travelled to Marshall, Michigan in July 2013.
Population – 7000 … Clean up expense to date – Over $1 Billion.
I wanted to get a firsthand account of the cleanup efforts and how residents were affected. I was also curious to judge whether Enbridge had changed or improved their public awareness since the incident.
While touring the Kalamazoo River area, I came across numerous information boards with Enbridge documents about the health of the river and what to do when you come into contact with oil.
Enbridge closed a portion of the Kalamazoo River on the third anniversary of the disaster, clearly exhibiting that the cleanup of diluted bitumen was proving more difficult than expected.
There are stark similarities between the events leading up to the 2010 Kalamazoo disaster and the current condition and public awareness surrounding Line 9.
I would encourage the NEB to carefully consider the findings of the NTSB final report and question whether Enbridge has truly made substantial improvements to their public awareness policy and pipeline integrity programs.
In conclusion, I respectfully appreciate the patience of the NEB in the entirety of this process and for the helpful guidance provided by NEB staff to myself as a first time intervenor.
Mme Chair and Members of the Board, you are now left with a huge task at hand – the moral responsibility of making a decision in the best interest of ALL communities along Line 9.
I would like to leave you with a brief quote…
“The choice, after all, is ours to make. If, having endured much, we have at last asserted our “right to know”, and if, knowing, we have concluded that we are being asked to take senseless and frightening risks, then we should no longer accept the counsel of those who tell us that we must fill our world with poisonous chemicals; we should look about and see what other course is open to us.” – Rachel Carson.
I strongly urge the NEB to reject the Enbridge Line 9B Application.
Thank you very much for your time