Enbridge

Sat, 2014-04-12 21:28Emma Gilchrist
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Kitimat Votes ‘NO’ to Enbridge Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline in Local Plebiscite

Kitimat residents have voted against the Northern Gateway pipeline, with 58.4 per cent of ballots in the city’s plebiscite being cast against the project, as of around 9 p.m. Saturday. In total, 1,793 voted against the proposed project, while 1,278 or 41.6 per cent were in favour.

3,071 ballots were cast, marking a high turnout (62 per cent) in the community of roughly 4,900 eligible voters at the terminus of Enbridge’s proposed oil pipeline. Fifty-six per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the last municipal election.

We’re celebrating with the Haisla outside in the park…and they’re surrounding the Douglas Channel Watch with thank you signs. They’re performing a drum song right now,” said Patricia Lange from Douglas Channel Watch.

It’s a really powerful moment.”

The vote, although non-binding, is an important part of the public relations battle being waged over Enbridge’s project. Enbridge brought in teams of paid corporate canvassers from out of town, placed full-page ads in northern newspapers and launched a “Vote Yes For Kitimat” website.

This vote is confirmation we are going to stand firm and say no to the influence of big oil,” Lange said.

Sat, 2014-04-12 11:01Derek Leahy
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"Our Fate Rests With This Appeal": First Nation Takes National Energy Board to Court Over Line 9 Approval

Joe Miskokomon

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation have launched a legal challenge against the National Energy Board’s (NEB) decision to approve Enbridge’s Line 9 oil pipeline project in southern Ontario and southern Quebec. The NEB – Canada’s independent energy regulator – approved the project to ship 300,000 barrels a day of oil and oilsands bitumen last month with soft conditions.

This 40-year old pipe is subject to corrosion and heavy crude is going to be shipped through in higher volumes. We feel that this raises the possibility of new impacts beyond the right-of-way and we are concerned about our water resources and the environment,” says Chief Joe Miskokomon of the Chippewas of the Thames or Deshkaan Ziibing* in the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) language.

Deshkaan Ziibing is one of fourteen Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee (Six Nations), and Lenape (Delaware) First Nations living along or near the 38-year old Line 9 pipeline. DeSmog Canada reported last November that the federal government’s failure to fulfill its legal duty to consult with all of these First Nations could land the federal government and the Line 9 project in court.

The legal challenge was filed last Monday with the Federal Court of Appeal on the grounds the NEB approved Line 9 without the federal government “conducting any meaningful consultation” with Deshkaan Ziibing.

Fri, 2014-03-28 08:58Emma Gilchrist
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New Campaign Finance Rules For B.C. Local Elections Leave “Elephant In The Room”

Amid controversy about Enbridge’s spending in Kitimat before a plebiscite on its Northern Gateway oil proposal, the B.C. government introduced legislation on Wednesday that, if passed, will tighten rules for campaign financing and advertising in local government elections and referendums — but the changes come four years late and don't go far enough, says a campaign finance expert.

The new Local Elections Campaign Financing Act and Local Elections Statutes Amendment Act will require third-party advertisers to register with Elections BC, identify donors of $50 and more and report expenditures for the first time. It will also require all election advertising to clearly name a sponsor and will ensure all campaign donations and expenses are published on the Elections BC website. It will also extend the terms of office for local elected officials from three years to four.

This is the most significant update to B.C.’s local elections process in 20 years,” Coralee Oakes, the province’s community, sport and cultural development minister, said in a statement.

However, the legislation still won’t mandate spending limits for candidates and third parties — a recommendation made by a joint B.C.-Union of B.C. Municipalities local government elections task force in 2010. The government says expense limits will be broached in a second phase of legislation before the next local election in 2018.

Wed, 2014-03-26 08:19Emma Gilchrist
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Enbridge Employees Go Door-To-Door In Kitimat Before Vote On Northern Gateway

Duelling Enbridge billboards

Kitimat residents are fighting back as Enbridge scales up its campaign to sway the town’s plebiscite vote on the company’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would see oil loaded onto 225 tankers a year at a proposed Kitimat terminal.

Having already launched an advertising blitz, Enbridge now has teams of paid canvassers knocking on doors throughout the community of 9,000 people. Door-knockers include Ray Doering, Enbridge’s manager of engineering from Calgary, Colin Kinsley, former mayor of Prince George and chair of the Enbridge-funded Northern Gateway Alliance, and other out-of-town Enbridge employees.

It’s the weirdest feeling having strangers in your town canvassing for this big company. It feels like it's none of their business,” says Patricia Lange, a volunteer with community group Douglas Channel Watch. “It feels very invasive.”

Tue, 2014-03-25 09:50Guest
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Massive Shellfish Die-Off in B.C. Heralds a Future We Can and Must Avoid

scallop

This is a guest post by Caitlyn Vernon and Torrance Coste.

The February 25th headline, “10 million scallops are dead; company lays off staff,” hit British Columbians like a punch in the stomach. The shellfish industry has been an economic powerhouse on central Vancouver Island for decades, providing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue every year – over $30 million in average wholesale value. 

But when we talk about shellfish, we aren’t just talking jobs and economics. We are talking about food. Shellfish harvesting is one of our most robust local food systems, and the prospect of losing this industry makes us all feel, quite frankly, a little hungry.

Of the possible causes of the recent scallop die-off, ocean acidification seems the most likely. Ocean acidification is directly connected to climate change and to our runaway consumption of fossil fuels. In short, acidification occurs when carbon is absorbed into the ocean from the atmosphere, making the water more acidic. Acidification strips the ocean of carbonate ions, which marine species like scallops and oysters need to build their shells, therefore reducing the ability of these species to survive.

Mon, 2014-03-17 14:21Emma Gilchrist
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Enbridge Blitzes Northern B.C. With Ads Before Kitimat Plebiscite On Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline

Enbridge website

Enbridge Northern Gateway is covering northern B.C. with ads in the run up to the Kitimat plebiscite, urging citizens to vote in favour of the company’s proposal to ship oil across B.C. and on to Asia on oil tankers.  

During a provincial election or initiative vote, Elections BC restricts how much companies and other third-party advertisers can spend — but no such rules apply to the Kitimat plebiscite, being held on April 12.

Full-page colour ads have appeared in community newspapers in Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Burns Lake and Fort St. James — a town nearly 600 kilometres away from Kitimat. The estimated cost of those ads is about $8,250.

Enbridge has also launched a website, “Vote Yes for Kitimat,” urging citizens to vote in favour of their project. A conservative price tag on the website would be about $2,000, bringing Enbridge’s ad spend so far to more than $10,000 — with four weeks left until the vote.

Mon, 2014-03-17 10:04Derek Leahy
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Public Requests for Basic Line 9 Safety Test Denied in NEB Pipeline Approval

Enbridge Line 9

Last week’s approval of the Line 9 pipeline project by the National Energy Board (NEB) hinges on thirty conditions being met by the pipeline’s operator, Enbridge. The conditions are meant to enhance the safety of the project that involves shipping 300,000 barrels of crude oil and oilsands bitumen everyday from Sarnia to Montreal. Critics of the project say the requirements are not “meaningful conditions” and do not protect communities living along the 38-year old pipeline.

“By giving the green light without actually imposing conditions, the NEB is complacent towards the oilsands industry and demonstrates its inability to protect [our] health, public safety and our environment,” Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Équiterre, says of Line 9’s approval in a statement from Montreal.

The NEB may pretend to have put adequate safeguards in place but it has only safeguarded the profits of pipeline companies and externalized the risks associated with pipelines onto landowners as the Board always does,” says Dave Core, president of the Canadian Association of Energy Pipeline Landowners Associations (CAEPLA).

The conditions largely require Enbridge to provide the NEB – Canada’s independent energy regulator – with the most recent information about the Line 9 project. This includes information regarding the current state of the pipeline, revised emergency response plans and the pipeline company’s updated pipeline leak detection system manual.

Sun, 2014-03-09 06:00Ben Jervey
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Canada Approves Enbridge Line 9 Reversal: Tar Sands Crude to Flow to Montreal

Alberta’s tar sands crude has a new route east. 

Canada’s National Energy Board announced on Thursday the approval of Enbridge’s request to reverse and expand a portion of the company’s Line 9 pipeline to allow for crude to flow east to Montreal, Quebec. This follows a July 2012 decision by the NEB to allow reversal of the western Line 9 segment from West Northover to Sarnia, Ontario. As a result, in the words of the NEB, “Enbridge will be permitted to operate all of Line 9 in an eastward direction in order to transport crude oil from western Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to refineries in Ontario and Quebec.”

Canadian activists urged the NEB to fully consider the high risk and small reward of reversing the pipeline, pointing to the “DilBit Disaster” — when another reversed-flow Enbridge pipeline spilled over 800,000 gallons of diluted bitumen into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River — as a warning for what could occur on the Line 9 route.

As DeSmog Canada has reported, Enbridge’s Line 9 shares the same design deficiencies as the company’s Line 6B, which burst in Michigan. Canadian environmental groups are crying foul over the agency’s non-transparent and restrictive public comment process.

It’s pretty obvious the entire regulatory system is broken,” Adam Scott, spokesperson for Environmental Defence, told the Vancouver Observer. “They restricted the public’s ability to even participate.” Language in a 2012 budget bill allowed the NEB’s decision to be made without a comprehensive environmental assessment, and the Canadian public was forced to complete a lengthy 10-page application (and given a short two week warning to do so) to even earn the right to submit a public comment.

There were roughly 150 folks who were actually even allowed to comment or write a letter, and this was also the first major energy project not to have to go through an environmental assessment, so it’s clear the whole system has been stacked against the public’s interest in favour of oil companies,” said Scott.

Fri, 2014-03-07 09:29Derek Leahy
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Enbridge Line 9 Bitumen Pipeline Approved With Weak Conditions

Enbridge Line 9

The National Energy Board approved Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline project Thursday.

“[This] decision shows the system is broken. Line 9 puts millions of people and every waterway in Ontario leading into Lake Ontario at risk,” said Sabrina Bowman, a climate campaigner with Environmental Defence Canada.

Enbridge’s proposal to reverse Line 9 to flow from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec, increase its capacity by 20% and ship oilsands bitumen through the pipeline was approved by the Board (NEB) yesterday, but with thirty conditions. Bowman said the conditions do not protect people living along Line 9 from a spill. Line 9 is a 38-year old pipeline located in the most densely populated part of Canada.

The Enbridge pipeline 9 reversal with crude oil and diluted Bitumen is not wanted through our Traditional Territory and under the Thames River and we will seek other avenues to protect the land” said Myeengun Henry, a band councilor with Deshkon Ziibi* (Chippewas of the Thames) First Nation of southwestern Ontario.

We still need to be consulted and we are willing to listen,” Henry told DeSmog Canada.

The federal government thus far has failed to fulfill its legal duty to consult with First Nations in Ontario and Quebec about the Line 9 project. This leaves the door wide open for First Nations of both provinces to challenge the Line 9 decision in court.

Thu, 2014-03-06 09:52Derek Leahy
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Concerns Mount About 61-Year Old Enbridge Pipeline in the Great Lakes

Of the 30 million Canadians and Americans depending on the Great Lakes for water very few would guess there is an oil pipeline sitting in their drinking water supply. It is anyone’s guess if this 61-year old Enbridge pipeline, known as Line 5, is pumping bitumen from the Alberta oilsands through the Great Lakes.

U.S. pipeline regulations do not require Enbridge to make public if Line 5 is transporting bitumen. Enbridge says the pipeline carries light crude oil mainly from the Bakken shale in North Dakota. The pipeline begins in Superior, Wis., and cuts through Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet, in the U.S. to get to its end destination of Sarnia, Ont.

(U.S.) Pipelines in general are considered a national security risk,” says Beth Wallace, a regional coordinator with the National Wildlife Federation based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

So PHMSA is not willing to provide records of Line 5 that provide detailed information about the location, integrity or product transported,” Wallace told DeSmog Canada. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) oversees pipelines for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The National Wildlife Federation conducted an underwater dive last year to investigate and film the condition of Line 5. The federation discovered some of the pipeline’s steel supports meant to keep Line 5 secured to the bottum of the Straits had broken. Other sections of the pipeline were covered with debris.

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