• John Jantak

Ste. Anne council asked to consider adopting Enbridge pipeline testing resolution


Ste. Anne de Bellevue council said it will consider adopting a resolution at the next council meeting

in May calling on Enbridge to conduct hydrostatic testing of its 9B pipeline reversal project.

The City of Ste. Anne de Bellevue will consider following the lead of two off -island municipalities and possibly adopt a resolution at its next council meeting in May calling on Enbridge to conduct hydrostatic testing on its 9B oil pipeline.

The request for the resolution was made during question period at the April 13 council meeting by Audrey Yank, a citizen advocate for Coalition Vigilance Oléoducs (CVO), the Pipeline Vigilance Coalition. Yank said the CVO is a group of citizens and citizen groups throughout Montreal and off -island municipalities concerned about the eventual inversion of the 9B pipeline that will pump crude oil from the western provinces to Montreal. “We’re trying to inform as many people as possible about the issue,” Yank told Your Local Journal.

“We created this group about two years ago to make our voices heard because we’re really concerned about the inversion and the possibility of an oil leak.” A major concern raised by the CVO is a recent decision made by the federal National Energy Board (NEB) to forego hydrostatic testing of the 9B pipeline, a highly specialized process that would test the structural integrity of the pipeline and be able to detect microscopic fissures that could result in a potential oil leak.

The lack of hydrostatic testing prompted St. Lazare council last week to adopt a resolution calling on Enbridge to assume its social responsibility and conduct the tests to ensure that the pipeline, which is about 40 years old, can withstand the oil flow reversal. It would also help to ease concerns about whether the pipeline is a safe method to transport crude oil, said Mayor Robert Grimaudo.

For Rigaud resident Sandra Stephenson who was also at the Ste. Anne council meeting, her concern was about the negative impact a leak would have on the region’s water supply, including the Island of Montreal, since a portion of the pipeline runs beneath the Ottawa River. Stephenson added that the inversion process which would reverse the flow of oil could begin as early as June. Worries about a possible oil leak prompted Rigaud municipal council to adopt its own resolution in March which also called on Enbridge to perform hydrostatic testing.

Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. said that a recent NEB statement that hydrostatic tests could damage the pipeline was not reassuring and he was prepared to take the issue to Prime Minister Stephen Harper if they weren’t conducted. Ste. Anne District 2 Councillor Ryan Young who sits on the city’s environmental committee is also concerned about how an oil leak into the Ottawa River could negatively impact West Island communities and is hopeful a similar resolution could be adopted at the next council meeting.

“I know the line crosses underneath the Ottawa River up river from us and if there ever was a rupture, we could end up with an oil spill on our shores,” said Young. “I would hope our council adopts a resolution at our next council meeting like Rigaud and St. Lazare have, but I can’t speak for the rest of council. My position, personally, is that I would support the resolution and our environment committee would see it the same way.

“It’s common knowledge that the federal Conservatives have gutted a lot of our environmental assessment legislation and there aren’t proper checks and balances anymore when it comes to these types of projects,” Young added. “When it comes to the NEB, many observers are saying they’ve lost credibility because they’re too eager to push these types of projects through.”

Mayor Paola Hawa agrees that the proposal that was raised by Yank merits serious review. “We’re going to take a look at it,” said Hawa. “We often adopt resolutions in support of different movements such as this one. It even might be something that needs to be highlighted because many people may not realize how an oil spill could affect the West Island and our own water source.”