Protesters stop repair work on Enbridge’s Line 9 Favorite 



Dec 3 2013


Toronto, Canada

By: Joel Eastwood Staff Reporter, Graham Slaughter

Protesters locked themselves to machinery at an Enbridge Inc. construction site in north Toronto Tuesday, forcing the pipeline company to temporarily halt repair work on its aging Line 9B pipeline, which runs under foot.
About 20 protesters entered the muddy site on Pineway Blvd., north of Finch Ave., before sunrise and barricaded the entrance with wooden pallets and empty drums of drill antifreeze. Enbridge was forced to send all 31 workers on the site home for the day.
For nearly 12 hours, two priests chained their bodies to a yellow front-end loader with bicycle U-locks around their necks.
“I’ve been more comfortable,” joked Andrea Budgey, an Anglican chaplain at the University of Toronto, around her 11th hour on the frigid site. “But this isn’t much to suffer to communicate this idea.”
They’re protesting the pipeline running two metres beneath their feet. Enbridge’s Line 9 carries 160,000 barrels of oil every day from Montreal to Sarnia, Ont. The energy company wants to reverse the flow of the line and nearly double its capacity to 300,000 barrels a day.
That proposal is currently before the National Energy Board, which has already approved the reversal of Line 9A, the length of pipeline that runs from Sarnia to North Westover, Ont.
The controversial application for Line 9B — the segment that runs from North Westover to Montreal — is still pending. The federal energy board will make a decision by early next year.
Protester Amanda Lickers, a member of Six Nations of Grand River, said Enbridge is moving forward with work to prepare the pipeline for reversal, which a company spokesman flatly denies.
“We are replacing the pipeline and doing a horizontal drill under the Don River to replace it with a brand-new steel pipe,” said Graham White.
The replacement work is necessary because the hill sloping down to the Don River is eroding.
“It’s eventually going to take the pipe with it and put it in the Don River,” said Gary Boone, the assistant project manager. “That’s five, 10, maybe 15 years down the road. We don’t know. So what we’re doing here is preventative maintenance.”
White said the repair work has federal approval and will be carried out regardless of the Line 9B reversal decision.
But that explanation didn’t fly with the protesters, who oppose the very existence of the pipeline, which was built in 1976.
“Line 9 represents a significant threat to the nine million people who live along the route,” said Megan Mills, swaddled in a sleeping bag on the muddy gravel ground, her arm secured up to the elbow in an oil barrel. “I’m literally putting my body on the line to prevent that from happening.”
Mills initially said she would stay “as long as it takes.”
But at 5 p.m. she and the other protesters decided to unlock themselves.
“This is just the beginning. Today has been a victory,” Lickers said. “If the pipeline is approved, then I think that will just fuel the resistance against the pipeline expansion and this project in the future.”

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