By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Enbridge Pipeline officials confirmed a preliminary application that will be submitted to the National Energy Board requests that the pipeline from Westover, near Hamilton to Montreal carry heavy crude oil.
Graham White, manager of business communications for Enbridge, stated the line will be equiped to carry diluted bitumen, "but not that it will carry the product.
"This is not a product we can carry through our transmission pipeline," he said.
Ken Hall, senior advisor for Enbridge’s public affairs told Hamilton politicians Nov. 21, the company is asking the NEB to reverse the flow of its pipe so the company can carry predominately light, medium and heavy crude, to customers in Montreal.
“There won’t be raw bitumen,” said Hall.
Raw bitumen is from the tar sands, and has been an emotional issue for environmentalists who say it contributes to climate change.
White said the project does not go beyond Montreal.
In responding to a variety of critics from environmentalists and area residents who have urged the city to stop the company from using the pipe to send bitumen because it is a hazard to the environment, Enbridge officials attended a government issues committee meeting to allay any fears of the pipe’s safety.
Hall said there will be no increase pressure on Line 9 to force oil through the pipeline from Sarnia, through Westover to Montreal. The crude will also not be heated, nor will it carry any sand.
He also said the company has confidence in the safety of the 60-year-old pipe to carry the oil. Officials said the company has not experienced an internal corrosion failure on its mainline pipeline system.
“It’s not how old it is, it’s how well you take care of it,” said Hall.
Hall pointed out reversing the flow on Line 9 will return the flow to its original direction when the pipe was constructed in 1976.
In July, the NEB granted Enbridge its request to reverse the flow in its Line 9 from Sarnia to North Westover pump station, in Flamborough.
The company will be submitting a preliminary application to the NEB requesting to reverse the flow from Westover toMontreal. The application is expected to be sent to the NEB by the end of November. Once the NEB reviews the application, it will determine the completeness of the application, and issue a hearing order.
Councillors repeatedly questioned Enbridge officials about the security of the pipeline to carry the crude. They referred to an Enbridge pipeline rupture inKalamazoo, Michigan that leaked 3.3 million litres of oil into the surrounding river and lands.
Graham White, spokesperson for Enbridge, said the company assumed the $800 million cost of the spill when it occurred in 2010, and has “taken full responsibility” for the incident.
“It was not an internal corrosive issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wes Elliot of the Six Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy urged Hamilton officials to work with the organization regarding Enbridge’s application.
Elliot said Enbridge officials may have talked to some members of native bands in the area, but the Confederacy hasn’t discussed the issue with the company. He said the Confederacy has some “real concerns” and has already expressed them to the NEB.
“We are looking for a peaceful way,” he said. “There is a real possibility that violence would happen. I want peace. I want to protect our people.”
Councillors approved a motion to work with the Confederacy.