Letter to Editor | Energy East Pipeline

Energy East Pipeline

The Energy East pipe line proposal threatens the water supply of communities across the country. Canadians are being asked to bear the risk of the Energy East proposal while the benefits largely go to foreign corporations. The risks are being underestimated by the proponent (Trans Canada Pipeline), to gain political support and profit. The employment benefits to Canadians are grossly exaggerated. This extensive proposal, involving 4500 kms of aged pipeline, threatens the ecology, the water supply of 5 million Canadians, their communities, and their futures.

The Energy East pipe line proposal lacks best practice evidence and engineering science to make it safe!

Bitumen in gas pipeline is a failed technology. This is what happens to a gas line when it transports bitumen (Kalamazoo Spill)

To transport thick, crude oil, called bitumen, in the aged, gas pipeline, it is diluted with toxic carcinogens (i.e., naptha). The weight of bitumen is 18 times natural gas, adding new stresses to the old pipeline, especially at contours, where the pipe drops down under rivers.

In open rivers or under ice, a bitumen leak could travel hundreds of kilometers, laying a layer of bitumen that will leach toxic chemicals for decades. On the existing gas pipelines across Canada, there have been 12 major breaks (1700 leaks in total), over a 20 year period. (google ŒPipeline map: CBC News, Michael Peveira)‰.

The leak detection technology has proven inadequate. In two major bitumen leaks in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the May Flour spill in Arkansas, leak detection failed outright. The claims made by the pipeline companies on the effectiveness of leak detection systems and their response times, have been proven false.

There is no publicly accountable cleanup procedure or standards and so there is little possibility of adequate compensation for major pipeline ruptures. In Canada the pipeline corporation is responsible for the cleanup, and if you are not happy with the spill in your community, you can take the pipeline corporation to court. In their clean up estimates, there is no value placed on displacement, such as costs of people moving away, property devaluation due to a spill, and economic loss due to business or community shut-downs. Water supply replacement (if possible), caused by toxic, carcinogenic contamination from bitumen is lacking in their clean-up and liability plans.

Historically, pipeline corporations‚ liability claim funds, have been inadequate. If the pipeline is not making a profit, which is possible in a declining oil market, funds for cleanup will be very scarce.

What will people do when their water supply is declared unfit for human use as a result of chemical contamination? Why not ask your Chief, Mayor, MPP and MP?

Ambrose Raftis

Charlton Ontario


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