North York residents await pipeline reversal

Naysayers out of options, fearful of Enbridge’s track record


Despite public protests, Enbridge has secured permission to reverse Line 9B

After months of hearings, the National Energy Board (NEB) has granted Enbridge’s bid to reverse the flow of its Line 9B in order to pump diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to eastern Canada. The line runs through North York, near the Finch Avenue hydro corridor.

Coun. John Filion, whose Willowdale ward is home to this section of Line 9, is disappointed in the NEB’s decision. “They certainly didn’t allow much citizen participation,” said Filion.

In 2013, Enbridge unveiled a new application process for members of the public to be able to participate in NEB hearings. The 10-page application form was lambasted by environmentalist groups, a decision which was heavily criticized by some, including Filion.

“You pretty much couldn’t participate unless you were an expert in the field,” said Filion. “And even then, I’m not sure how much they listened to that.”

Advocacy group Environmental Defence echoed Filion’s disappointment.

“They rubber-stamped the project without listening to any of the important groups that intervened,” said Adam Scott, program manager, climate and energy, for Environmental Defence. “It puts millions of people at risk unnecessarily.”

“They rubber-stamped the project without listening to any groups.”

Scott and Filion said they both fear Enbridge’s track record. The company has seen a number of spills, including a significant rupture in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2010. With the aging pipeline running close to many homes, critics are not impressed.

“The line runs through the hydro field, which has homes on either side,” said Filion. “And the Yonge-Finch intersection, of course, has high-rises.”

North Yorkers should expect the reversal to take place before the end of 2014.

“We need to meet all of the NEB’s 30 conditions,” said Graham White, manager of business communications with Enbridge, “but [we] are still targeting [the fourth quarter] of this year for an in-service date.”

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