“The National Energy Board has been heavily criticized for not requiring comprehensive environmental assessments of pipeline projects … and for failing to consult with First Nations whose traditional lands are traversed.”
News from the Hamilton, Ontario-based Citizens At City Hall (CATCH)
Posted August 4rth, 2016 on Niagara At Large
The catastrophic oil spill in Saskatchewan this July has raised new concerns about inadequate environmental reviews of pipelines as the National Energy Board (NEB) grapples with Enbridge’s proposal to construct 35 kilometres of its Line 10 across rural Hamilton. Farm families near Copetown are challenging the company’s re-routing of the export pipe across their properties to avoid a golf course.
“The project focuses on replacing 35 km of existing 12-inch-diameter steel pipe, installed in 1962, with a new 20-inch line,” explains Enbridge’s website. “By replacing this segment of Line 10 rather than applying several preventative maintenance digs, we will minimize overall disturbance to landowners along the right-of-way and the environment, address ongoing maintenance requirements and make a safe pipeline even safer.”
The new pipe would run from Westover to Nebo Road, and is part of a 143 kilometre line that extends into New York State. NEB formal hearings on the project are expected to occur this fall.
City council has raised concerns about the company plans to leave the old pipe in the ground, but only Matthew Green appears to oppose the whole project. Council has not objected to the re-routing across Greenbelt foodlands, but Enbridge’s plan to use 11 kilometres of new right-of-way to avoid the costs of disrupting golf courses has generated opposition from several rural landowners, including a group of eleven farm families whose properties are scheduled to be part of the new route east of Copetown.
The peer review prepared by Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited (HSAL) and filed on June 30 has not yet generated an Enbridge response but it raises multiple objections to the environmental and socio-economic assessment used by the company to justify the pipeline relocation around the Flamborough Hills golf course.
“Enbridge’s Line 10 public and stakeholder consultation process did not allow critically important biophysical and socio-economic information to be identified and meaningful consultation to occur before key environmental assessment decisions were made,” argues the review.
“HSAL would have expected to see a discussion of the potential significant cumulative impacts created by a third linear corridor the Copetown Diversion will create in the Copetown area. The effect will be to create new ribbon-like lot parcels, potentially removing farmland from production should landowners sell smaller lots created, further reducing the size and viability of farms.”
Enbridge deciding on the re-route before it formally studied and consulted on the change violates provincial assessment rules, HSAL charges. The reviewer also contends that “agricultural effects created by the Copetown Diversion route appear to be more significant than the agricultural effects Enbridge is seeking to avoid.”
Other Line 10 re-routes have also generated objections, but Enbridge has obtained the support of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Hamilton which owns the Southern Pines Golf Course, another one that would be avoided by a new right-of-way across farmland.
The July 20 spill of 200,000 litres of oil into the North Saskatchewan River and its dispersal over 500 km downstream has multiple towns and cities scrambling to find alternative drinking water. The company delayed notifying authorities by 14 hours and it has now been revealed that the leak occurred when Husky Oil began operating a new cross-river pipe that had been exempted from environmental assessment by the Saskatchewan government – whose premier has been a vocal advocate for more pipelines.
The National Energy Board has been heavily criticized for not requiring comprehensive environmental assessments of pipeline projects, especially their climatic impacts, and for failing to consult with First Nations whose traditional lands are traversed. The latter shortcoming raised by Chippewas of the Thames First Nation with respect to Enbridge’s controversial Line 9 pipeline will be examined by the Supreme Court of Canada this fall, and the local Haudenosaunee Development Institute has written to the NEB with similar concerns about Line 10.
CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at hamiltoncatch.org. You can receive all CATCH free updates by sending an email to http://hamiltoncatch.org/newsletter/?p=subscribe. Sharing links are available on the hamiltoncatch.org.
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