NEB bars citizens from hearing

OIL PIPELINE: Protesters disrupt proceedings in London, Ontario

May 23, 2012  by Jonathan Sher

http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/05/23/19789461.html

“We’re fed up with this,” said one native woman. She said her name is Yagotala and that she’s part of the Mohawk Nation. “The government isn’t listening.”

Members of Six Nations and Occupy London voiced their concerns about a request by Enbridge to reverse the flow of oil in a London area pipeline so it travels west to east, from Sarnia to Westover, near Hamilton.

Spooked by native and Occupy protests, the National Energy Board has barred citizens from a hearing that could remove obstacles to bringing oil to Southwestern Ontario from Alberta’s oil sands.

“It is unfortunate today that we have to take this step,” board chair Roland George said Wednesday. “(Protesters) have not shown respect and caused serious concerns about the safety of those in attendance.”

Only media and groups that applied earlier to intervene in the issue will be allowed in the hearing room Thursday at Hilton London — others can only tune in to a live webcast.

Earlier Wednesday, moments before pipeline giant Enbridge was to speak to the board, protesters brought the hearing to a halt, rising to their feet, a leader bellowing out at the injustices and others repeating phrases as if at a revival.

Board members fled the room as members of the Haudenosaunee First Nation decried what they called an intrusion on their lands and treaty rights.

video

“Mic check!
The people here
believe the NEB hearings
are illegitimate,
inaccessible,
and undemocratic.
Although we respect the efforts
of organizations at this hearing
that are raising concerns
about environmental threats
and Indigenous treaty violations.
We are here to challenge Enbridge,
the National Energy Board,
and the Conservative government.
The federal government
can completely overrule
the decision made here.
You are also failing to consider
the impacts of tar sands expansion
and all the treaties being breached
by this proposed pipeline reversal.
This project cannot go forward
without the free,
prior,
and informed consent
of the Haudenosaunee,
who would be directly
impacted by a pipeline rupture.
So, the official hearing is now over
until your request
has been approved by HDI
The Haudenosaunee Development Institute
and we would now like to commence
The People’s Hearing
with statements from the Haudenosaunee themselves.”

“We’re fed up with this,” said one native woman. She said her name is Yagotala and that she’s part of the Mohawk Nation. “The government isn’t listening.”

A board official, with police backing him, ordered the room cleared and nearly all left without incident — one woman was arrested.

The hearing resumed later with police monitoring who could enter the room.

First to speak was Enbridge, which wants to reverse the flow of oil in a pipeline in London’s backyard so it moves from west to east, from Sarnia to Westover near Hamilton.

Less reliable oil from overseas can be replaced by Alberta crude, said Enbridge lawyer Douglas Crowther. “This will benefit shippers, producers and the broader Canadian public interest,” he told the energy board.

He disputes claims by environmentalists, who point to a rupture of an Enbridge pipeline in Michigan two years ago and say Londoners should be alarmed because the pipeline crosses under the Thames River just north of the city.

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation argued Enbridge had done far too little to establish the changes it plans are safe for the environment or respectful of treaty rights.

There’s been no oil in the pipeline this year and a trickle last year, so Enbridge must show if increased flow will denigrate the air, water and soil, Aamjiwnaang lawyer Scott Smith told the board.

Then the company must share findings with, and seek input from, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, he said.

Instead, Enbridge has only studied some of the changes and addition to its infrastructure, he said.

Environmentalists fear Enbridge’s push to reverse the flow of oil near London is the first step toward moving oil to the U.S. east coast, a move that could speed oilsands production and degrade the global environment.

Some environmental groups will make their case Thursday.

Margaret Vance, president of the Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association, has immediate concerns: the pipeline is within two kilometres of her farm north of Woodstock. “I don’t want to walk out on our backyard and see a field of oil.”

Native protesters shut down Enbridge hearing in Ontario

Led by Six Nations community members, Enbridge Line 9 hearings disrupted, shut down for half a day.

May 23, 2012

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/05/native-protesters-shut-down-enbridge.html

LONDON, Ontario — Dozens of environmental justice activists led by Indigenous activists from Haudenosaunee successfully “mic checked” a stop to Enbridge Line 9 hearings in London early Wednesday morning. Members of the National Energy Board had traveled to London to hear presentations from major oil conglomerates as well as environmental NGOs. After successfully disrupting meeting, Haudenosaunee representatives explained that they had not been consulted about the pipeline plans, which would negatively impact their lands.

 


“We are not only fighting for our rights but yours too,” said grandmother and long time Indigenous activist Ruby Montour, after members of the board and lawyers from the oil companies left the presentation room. “They need to be fair with our people, with you, your ancestors and your children. The environment is going to pay big time if these pipelines rupture and they need to listen to our concerns. They need to speak to us, the real people who need to be spoken to, whose treaties have been broken. They forced us to go to school, they forced us to learn, and we learned so now we know when they are lying or cheating. Well, they can’t anymore. They can’t force things on our lands.”

Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. is proposing the Line 9 Trailbreaker Pipeline to transport tar sands oil through some of the most important natural and cultural landscapes in eastern Canada.  Under the plan, Enbridge would pump corrosive tar sands oil – the dirtiest oil on the planet – through a pipeline that was built in 1975. Enbridge has taken the first step to implement this plan by recently filing a permit application with Canada’s National Energy Board.

“This project cannot go forward without the free, prior and informed consent of the Haudenosaunee who would be directly impacted by a pipeline rupture,” said Metis activist Sakihitowin Awasis who led the mic check that was repeated by over two dozen activists in the room. The Mic Check continued: “The people believe the NEB hearings are illegitimate, inaccessible and undemocratic”

“Pipelines have been stalled or stopped going westward through British Columbia, southwards through Texas (the Keystone XL) and are now being pushed eastward through Ontario. It will be met with similar resistance,” said organizer Toban Black outside the five star Hilton Hotel after the meeting was recessed.

Awasis was arrested by London police, held for over an hour and released with a trespass ticket.

The National Energy Board public hearing was shut down for half the day, after which only the press and the official intervenors were allowed to re-enter. After submissions from intervenors inside the room, the Board ruled that members of the public could re-enter if the intervenors vouched that the people coming in would not be disruptive.

Activists stayed outside and organized a People’s Hearing where statements were read by those gathered and others who had submitted their statements online http://peopleshearing2012.wordpress.com/line9/ .

Enbridge wants to pipe tarsands oil to Montreal

The $100-million Line 9B reversal is expected to be available for service in early 2014, assuming it gets National Energy Board approval.

Posted on May 18, 2012   by Michelle Lalonde

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Enbridge+pipe+tarsands+Montreal/6640747/story.html

MONTREAL – Now that Enbridge Inc. has announced its intention to pipe oil from Alberta’s oilsands projects not just through Ontario, as previously announced, but all the way to Montreal, Quebec environmental groups are demanding a National Energy Board assessment of the overall project.

 

 

Public hearings into the company’s project to reverse the flow of crude oil between Sarnia, Ont., and North Westover Station near Cambridge, Ont. are to begin in London, Ont., next week. But this week, the company announced it will be also be asking the National Energy Board to approve a project to reverse the flow in existing pipelines to get oilsands oil from Ontario to Montreal.

Quebec environmental groups sounded the alarm last August that Enbridge was reviving piece by piece its controversial Trailbreaker project, abandoned in 2009 due to a poor economic climate. That project proposed to reverse the flow direction in existing pipelines that have traditionally brought foreign oil from Portland, Maine, up to Montreal and west to Ontario refineries. The idea with Trailbreaker was to allow the same pipelines to bring Alberta oil east to Montreal, and then south.

Enbridge says the Trailbreaker project is still dead, but the company wants to reverse the flow in its Westover-to-Montreal pipeline because it now has long-term commitments from the Suncor refinery in Montreal East and the Ultramar refinery in Lévis.

The pipeline, which Enbridge calls Line 9B, can carry up to 240,000 barrels of crude per day. Refineries are now interested in Alberta crude because it’s selling at about $20 less per barrel than the foreign-sourced oil they are buying now, a spokesperson for Enbridge told The Gazette.

“Quebec refineries have been forced to take crude from the North Sea or West Africa or the Middle East and they are paying quite a bit more for that crude than those who have access to production from Western Canada,” said Stephen Wuori, president of Enbridge’s Liquids Pipelines division.

Équiterre’s Steven Guilbeault and ecologist David Suzuki said Quebecers’ interests will not be served by this project.

“The pipeline, which would carry the tarsands oil all the way from Alberta to Quebec, would go through some of the most densely populated areas of the country, such as the Greater Montreal area,” Guilbeault said, adding polls have shown Quebecers are against oilsands oil because of the environmental impacts of that industry.

Suzuki said Canadians should be reducing their dependence on oil, and pushing their governments toward renewable energy.

“We have always said that the tarsands oil should stay in the ground, period,” said Suzuki, in Montreal this week on speaking engagements. “But this whole battle over pipelines is masking the big question, which is why don’t we have a national energy policy in this country?”

Environmental Defence and Équiterre released a statement Thursday charging that pumping oilsands oil through pipelines in Ontario and Quebec will mean more air pollution and more risk of toxic spills into waterways. They demanded that the National Energy Board assess Enbridge’s full plan, rather than just pieces of it, so that questions of greenhouse gas emissions and risks of spills over long distances can be addressed.

“Getting raw tarsands oil through pipelines is like moving hot, liquid sandpaper that grinds and burns its way through a pipe, thus increasing the chance that weakened pipelines will rupture,” the groups said in their joint press release, adding that pipelines that transport tarsands oil in the U.S. spill three times as much oil per mile as the average pipeline.

But Wuori objected to this characterization.

“The notion that we are putting sandy crude through the pipe is absolutely false,” he said.

The oil that will be shipped through the 9B pipeline will be either diluted bitumen or partially refined crude, and more likely the latter since it is a lot like the light crude refineries in Montreal and Lévis are currently refining, he said.

Wuori stressed that oilsands oil is not sandy by the time it goes into the pipeline. The crude is analyzed at the intake to the pipe to ensure it is no more than 0.5 per cent sediment and water, he said.

“I can’t say that any particular crude is never going to move through that pipeline, but this project is really about light crude for these refineries, because they can get it at more attractive prices than their current sources,” Wuori said.

The $100-million Line 9B reversal is expected to be available for service in early 2014, assuming it gets National Energy Board approval.