By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Enbridge Pipeline Inc.’s proposal to expand the use of its Line 9 pipeline that runs through Flamborough continues to raise issues for city officials.
A 2010 pipeline burst nearKalamazoo,Michigan that has so far cost about $800 million to clean up, raising red flags for Hamilton officials.
“That remains a concern for us,” said Guy Paparella, director of growth planning for the city.
Paparella told councillors at their March 20 government issues committee meeting there remains outstanding questions by city officials ifHamilton’s emergency personnel are prepared for an oil spill in an environmentally sensitive area, the costs of a cleanup, and if there is any impact on the area’s drinking water. For instance, it is unclear how much the company would pay for a cleanup, and what costs the city would be responsible for, said city officials.
Hamilton’s deputy fire chief Dave Cunliffe said city officials want to meet with Enbridge officials about the company’s emergency response.
“We have some questions about it,” he said.
Enbridge Pipeline has applied to the National Energy Board to reverse its flow through its 37-year-old Line 9B pipeline from Westover toMontreal. The pipeline travels through the Beverley Swamp, which is the headwaters ofSpencerCreek. The company has already received approval from theNEBto reverse the flow in its Line 9A.
The application requests increasing its average flow to 300,000 barrels of oil a day from the current 240,000 barrels.
It is expected the pipeline will carry mainly light crude fromSaskatchewanandNorth Dakota, but could eventually ship heavier crude from theAlbertatar sands.
The municipality does not have any jurisdiction over Enbridge Inc.’s application. But it can apply to become an intervener when the hearing takes place during the week of Aug. 26. The city has until April 11 to apply to be an intervener.
At a recent Hamilton Conservation Authority board meeting, Enbridge officials proposed installing closure values at certain points along the pipeline to prevent any spill.
Ken Hall, spokesperson for Enbridge Pipeline, said the Kalamazoo17-hour spill was caused by human error, and that the company has learned from its mistakes.
“The integrity of the pipe is key to us,” said Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie.