Pipeline safety expert finds "high risk of Line 9 rupture" if National Energy Board approves Enbridge's reversal plan

Coalition of environmental groups call for rejection of Line 9 reversal proposal

MONTREAL and TORONTO, Aug. 9, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Evidence submitted this week to the National Energy Board (NEB) regarding Enbridge's application to reverse its Line 9 oil pipeline through Quebec and Ontario raised new concerns about the safety of the project.

International pipeline safety expert, Richard Kuprewicz, concluded that:

  • There is a high risk that Line 9 will rupture in the early years following project implementation due a combination of cracking and corrosion.

  • Enbridge's approach to pipeline safety management for this pipeline will not prevent rupture under the operating conditions resulting from the implementation of the project.

  • Should a rupture occur, Enbridge's leak detection system and emergency response plans are inadequate. It would take up to four hours for emergency response in the Greater Toronto and Montreal areas. The response times are inadequate for the many high consequence areas, such as highly populated areas, located along Line 9.

The evidence was filed as part of the NEB intervention by Equiterre, Environmental Defence, ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU), The Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA), The Sierra Club Canada (Quebec Chapter), Climate Justice Montreal (CJM) and Nature Québec.

"This evidence clearly shows what we have been saying for a long-time. This project will put the health and the quality of the environment of our communities at risk both in Ontario and Quebec. In light of this, I cannot see how the NEB could approve such a reckless project," said Steven Guilbeault, Senior Director with Equiterre.

"This is the most damning indictment we've seen of Enbridge's plan, which would saddle Ontario and Quebec with the danger of a tar sands oil spill," said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence. "The Line 9 proposal should be rejected because our communities, our drinking water and our shared environment shouldn't be put at risk this way."

In light of Kuprewicz's findings of a high risk for rupture, energy economics experts, Ian Goodman and Brigid Rowan, concluded:

  • The implementation of this project would involve a substantial risk of major economic damage and disruption - and potential loss of life. This is especially true in Toronto and Montreal, where the pipeline runs parallel to or crosses key urban infrastructure and could threaten the drinking water supply.

  • Due to Line 9B's extraordinary proximity to people, water and economic activity, the rupture costs of the project vary from significant to catastrophic. Given the high risk of rupture, the expected project cost also varies from significant to catastrophic.

  • Based on an evaluation of economic costs and benefits, the potential economic costs could exceed  the potential economic benefits.

Kuprewicz has over 40 years of energy industry experience, has occupied management positions at pipeline companies, and has assisted various parties in major investigations into pipeline ruptures such as at Kalamazoo and in San Bruno.

Ian Goodman and Brigid Rowan have over 55 years of experience between them in energy economics and regulation, with a specialization in the evaluation of the economic impacts of large energy projects. They recently co-authored an influential study of Keystone XL job impacts.

The experts' testimonies can be found at: http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/fetch.asp?language=F&ID=A53309. The NEB hearings are expected to occur in the Fall. The coalition will be participating as an intervenor.


For further information:

or interview requests, please contact:

Julie Tremblay, Équiterre, 514-605-2000

Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 258; 416-570-2878 (cell)

André Bélisle, AQLPA, 418-386-6992

Laura Thompson, CJM, 514-507-1119

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