In September 2013, the Waterloo Region Coalition Against Line 9 sent a
delegation to present to Waterloo Regional Council in an effort to move the
Region to take a stand against Enbridge's Line 9 reversal, bringing forward
the grave concerns surrounding the transport of diluted bitumen and fracked
oil across the region, and impressing upon the region their location on Six
Nations treaty territory and the obligations that come with this
Following the Coalition's presentation, the Region of Waterloo issued a
statement of concern regarding Line 9 which was sent to the National Energy
Board, outlining their conditions for the project, which included the
creation of a billion dollar contingency fund that would be held by
Enbridge. Their concerns and requests, like those of numerous intervenors
in the NEB hearings and other affected parties, went unheeded as the NEB
rubber-stamped Enbridge's plan.
At the time of this presentation, Enbridge had only acknowledged 12 of the
35 spills it actually recorded on Line 9. This significantly higher figure
only came to light through investigative journalism, and still only
represents the number of spills of quantities exceeding the threshold for
an official report. If bitumen ever flows through Line 9, the number of
spills is sure to climb, and the impacts of each incident will be
A question period and discussion followed the presentation and is also presented here.
listen/download presentation: http://grandrivermc.ca/grrr/noline9-sept2013-regionalPresentation.mp3
Full Text of Speech:
We will begin today by acknowledging that we are on the Haldimand Tract, the Grand River Territory of the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations. We say this to bring attention to our responsibilities as settlers on this land; responsibilities to the Onkwehon:we people, and to the treaties and agreements our governments have made with them.
Intro to declaration (1:30)
The reason for our delegation this evening is to present a declaration issued by the Waterloo Region Coalition Against Line 9 – a growing network of over 25 signatory groups including social justice, environmental, and anti-poverty groups as well as local businesses and artists. This declaration, which we are urging you, as the Region of Waterloo, to sign, highlights our primary points of concern regarding Enbridge’s proposed line 9 pipeline reversal project. The project seeks to reverse the flow of this aging pipeline and ship diluted tar sands crude bitumen across southern Ontario and Quebec where it would eventually be shipped to oversea markets.
While the proposal to reverse the flow of the project through our region has been approved by the National Energy Board, shipping tar sands in the line has not and at the upcoming NEB hearings in Toronto, we want to present the strongest case as to the concern over this project in the region.
We would like to emphasize the severity of the potential impacts of Enbridge's plan on Waterloo Region. Our declaration foregrounds five areas of concern and we will introduce those 5 areas now.
1.The transport of bitumen through this pipeline poses a terrible risk to the Grand River and the surrounding watershed.
2. Reversing Line 9 will provide no benefits to the Waterloo Region or local residents.
3. The reversal of the pipeline violates current treaties with Indigenous communities, both within the Haldimand Tract and elsewhere along the route.
4. Bitumen is more difficult and expensive to clean up than conventional crude.
5. The reversal will further entrench our region in the carbon economy, which contributes to climate change.
Expand on local ricks (1:50)
The Line 9 pipeline crosses through our region, including the Grand River and the Nith River. Were a spill to occur in the region and especially in one of these rivers, our region would be devastated by the environmental and economic impacts. As point 4 of our declaration states, bitumen behaves differently than conventional crude. First, it is substantially thicker; thus, it must be mixed with a chemical slurry and pumped at a much higher pressure for it to flow, putting the pipeline under greater stress. If spilled, bitumen sinks, and conventional clean-up measures simply do not work.
The 2010 spill in Kalamazoo, MI has still not been cleaned up; after over a billion dollars already spent, the river is now being dredged. And when the pipeline ruptures and the bitumen sinks, the chemicals added to the mix vaporise and create a toxic cloud, the health impacts of which were seen recently in Mayflower, AR as numerous local residents were sickened. Both of these pipelines were retrofitted to pump diluted bitumen, with pressure, temperature, and capacity increased, as is proposed for Line 9. Additionally, fracked oil from the Bakken shale fields, the same volatile oil implicated in the destruction of the picturesque town Lac Megantic , is slated to be shipped in line 9 as well.
With more than 800 significant spills in the past decade, which occurred despite industry standards and over a billion dollars spent on safety measures, it is clear that we cannot trust Enbridge’s persistent promises of safety. Their pipelines spill. It is clear that it’s not a matter of if, but when, the pipeline will spill; line 9 has already spilled a dozen times. With these realities in mind, we can clearly see that the line 9 reversal would be disastrous to the region and its residents.
A local failure of Line 9 would compromise farms and other business operations along the line, and risk our drinking water – both in the many groundwater wells that dot the landscape and in the grand river. A spill on the line would also implicate our emergency responders. Enbridge relies on local municipalities to clean up their leaks and spills, and has recently failed to compensate affected parties, notably including two tribal councils, for their costs.
These dire costs are not even accompanied by jobs for the region. Enbridge has promised 200 jobs over the scope of the reversal project, but these are spread across the entire line and would be clustered at the existing Enbridge terminals, none of which are in the region.
Treaty and Agreement Responsibilities with Indigenous Nations (0:50)
As we mentioned in our introduction, we are residing on Six Nations’ land in the Haldimand Tract. Under current agreements an
d treaties, any projects undertaken on this land must be done in consultation and with the free, prior, and informed consent of Six Nations. While ultimately the Crown holds this responsibility, they have consistently failed to act in this regard. In the absence of federal action, we feel it is incumbent upon local levels of Canadian government to cultivate relationships that honour the treaties held between the Crown and Indigenous nations.
The Line 9 reversal project, as it stands, contravenes treaties and agreements including the Haldimand Treaty, the Fort Albany (Nanfan) treaty, the Two Row Wampum, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both Enbridge and the federal government have shirked responsibility to uphold these treaties. If we allow the project to proceed without consultation, we are engaging in the continuing colonization of Indigenous nations.
What you can do! (0:30)
If you share concerns around the line 9 reversal, we again urge you to sign the Waterloo Region Against Line 9 declaration. We also encourage the Region, in step with other responsible councils, to issue a statement of concern regarding the project.
While the, NEB will not consider the upstream or downstream impacts of the products to be shipped in line 9, the only benefits Enbridge touts are those found upstream or downstream. We know that the pipeline not only cuts through dozens of communities and Indigenous territories, but it also is connected to dozens more communities downstream which will be negatively impacted by the inevitable failure of the pipeline. We feel it is necessary to bring a widely endorsed declaration of opposition and a strong statement of concern from the Regional Council to the NEB hearings to ensure that the concerns of the residents of this region are heard.