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Enbridge gets approval for Line 9 reversal

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

 The National Energy Board has given Enbridge Pipelines the green light to reverse the flow of oil on its Line 9 pipeline from North Westover to Montreal.

But theNEB, after concerns were voiced by opponents of the line reversal, imposed a number of conditions, including requiring the company to hold further public consultations and post a commitments tracking table on its website.

TheNEB, in its decision released March 6, stated its conditions will allow the company to meet market demands, while also “implementing the project in a safe and environmentally sensitive manner.”

Enbridge had applied to theNEBto reverse the direction of the flow over a 639 km segment between North Westover, in Flamborough, toMontreal. The NEB also granted the company’s request to boost the capacity of the 39-year-old line from 240,000 barrels per day to 300,000 from Sarnia to Montreal. The NEB had already agreed in 2012 to reverse the Line 9 pipeline flow from Sarnia to North Westover. The decision will also allow Enbridge to transport heavy crude oil.

Opponents to the application had argued Line 9 was too old and could result in further erosion of the pipe’s condition. They also argued the line will transport the oil from the Alberta tar sands.

Hamiltonofficials had some concerns about the pipeline as well. They sent documentation to the NEB arguing in the case of a pipeline break, the municipality would be under pressure to response to a spill. The pipeline runs through a number of environmentally sensitive lands in the Flamborough area. Opponents had requested the company conduct hydrostatic testing and have an independent engineer assessment done.

Members of theHamilton350 committee, anticipating theNEB’s approval, are scheduled to hold a noon rally protesting the decision atHamiltoncity hall March 7.

Enbridge still needs to meet certain conditions as laid out by theNEBbefore it can apply for a leave to open the pipe. In addition, the company also has to receive the required permits and approvals from the provincial government to reverse the flow.

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