Public Notice - Climate Change Containment Unit declares Enbridge Pipeline Exercise Irresponsibly Inadequate.

On September 25, 2013 Enbridge Pipelines Inc. and local municipalities staged an emergency response exercise involving a simulated oil spill of Enbridge's Line 9 into the Grand River (Six Nations territory). The Climate Change Containment Unit (CCCU), whose rapid responders were present on scene to monitor the situation, has conducted a review of the exercise and is providing notice of its findings.

Enbridge's exercise simulated the death of the Grand River, forecasting Line 9's impending failure, and their response was fundamentally inadequate to address the impacts of a real spill. The CCCU finds that Enbridge's exercise amounted to a media stunt without grounding in environmental protection. The CCCU's experts were on river, and observed a high rate of flow above seasonal norms that would have carried a bitumen spill far further downstream than Enbridge accounted for. Their six hours on site were insufficient to contain the scenario's overnight rupture of Line 9.

Enbridge's exercise is designed for dealing with conventional light crude, and they have not provided training for dealing with diluted bitumen (dilbit) which is proposed to be shipped through Line 9. In statements made to media present at the exercise, Enbridge stated that it considers dilbit to be the same as light crude. The CCCU notes that unlike conventional crude, dilbit in fact sinks in bodies of water, making its clean-up much more challenging and costly. Enbridge's exercise hinged on a boom dragged across the river, designed to halt the flow of oil on the surface of the water, entirely ineffective for dilbit. 

Enbridge's response to the 2010 rupture of line 6b in Kalamazoo, MI evidences their lack of preparation for such a situation, as well as the extreme measures required to remove spilled dilbit. As occurred here, emergency responders in Michigan were trained by Enbridge to respond to a pipeline failure, but this preparation was entirely insufficient when 3.3 million litres of dilbit devastated 60km of the river. Alarmingly, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), entrusted with the maintenance of the river, was unaware of Enbridge's plans to ship dilbit and fracked oil in Line 9. They are participating in Enbridge's media stunt and preparing for inevitable clean-up rather than protecting the watershed.

The exercise, planned by Enbridge, involved municipalities and the GRCA, but failed to include Six Nations, whose treaty land includes the Grand River. This failure to include the Haudenosaunee continues Enbridge's pattern of disregarding the need to engage in consultation and obtain the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples on whose territory they operate. The CCCU notes that this disregard for treaties and other international agreements is standard to Enbridge and other corporations engaged in extractive industry, and continues the process of colonization championed by the canadian state. The tar sands themselves are effecting the genocide of Indigenous communities in their vicinity and wherever this bitumen is shipped.

After each failure of their infrastructure, Enbridge claims to have changed their policies and safety procedures. However, Enbridge has documented 804 significant spills on their lines from 1999-2010, and their pipelines continue to break, including Line 37 in July, which Enbridge attributed to “too much rain,” a symptom of the extreme weather events characteristic of continuing climate change.

The CCCU concludes that Enbridge's Line 9 reversal project poses a substantial risk to the watershed, furthered by their dangerously inadequate clean-up procedures and refusal to engage in meaningful consultation. Furthermore, the Line 9 reversal supports tar sands expansion and traps us in the carbon economy, fueling climate change and its attendant destruction of the environment and communities.


#line9 || #noline9

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