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Monday morning banner drop opposing Line 9 in Montreal

Oil-by-rail export terminal in Belledune NB also opposed by protesters

by David Gray-Donald

Translation: Two activists opposed to the passage of Enbridge Line 9 placed a banner on a tower near a rail line in Montreal. Bravo and Thank You! (Together against tar sands / Facebook)
Translation: Two activists opposed to the passage of Enbridge Line 9 placed a banner on a tower near a rail line in Montreal. Bravo and Thank You! (Together against tar sands / Facebook)
In Montreal, June 15, 2015.
In Montreal, June 15, 2015.
Map of pipelines leading to Line 9 and beyond.
Map of pipelines leading to Line 9 and beyond.
Banner seen early morning, June 15, 2015.
Banner seen early morning, June 15, 2015.
Map of communities Line 9A & 9B go through in Ontario and Quebec.
Map of communities Line 9A & 9B go through in Ontario and Quebec.

A banner against Enrbidge's Line 9 project was seen hanging from a tower early this Monday morning in the east Montreal neighbourhood of Mercier-Hochlaga-Maisonneuve. The three-by-ten meter banner, written in French, was translated by organizers as:

"NO!
to
ENBRIDGE
LINE 9B
& BELLEDUNE 

OUR
drinking water
OR THEIR
DIRTY
OIL"

The drop was planned to bring attention to the issue of tar sands transportation. "The message needs to get out," said organizers of the banner drop. "The media need to talk about it, the debate needs to take place."

And media have recently been paying attention to Enbridge's Line 9, the 40-year old pipeline which for some time seemed sure to be allowed by the National Energy Board to start operating this spring. 

Last Friday VICE.com reported that the National Energy Board did not see a court challenge against NEB consultation process on behalf of Chippewa of the Thames First Nation (near London, ON)  as reason enough to hold the project back. But neither did the NEB give a start date, saying "we will take the time needed to make the right decision."

Today the Globe and Mail reported how Suncor is putting pressure on the NEB to explain the seeming delay and get the line flowing. The company claims the scheduling setbacks have cost it millions.

Line 9 would carry heavy tar sands bitumen and lighter Bakken crudes from southwestern Ontario to Montreal. Opponents oppose Line 9 seeing it as a way to expand tar sands operations. Oil producers fight for this increased infrastructure to get their products to markets at lower cost than rail. Much of the heavy oil running through Line 9 would be destined for export, given current refining capacity. 

One citizen present at the banner drop was against oil-by-rail transport as well as Line 9, seeing both as unwanted. Belledune, featured on the banner, is planned to become a major export terminal for Alberta oil transported by rail. "The industry casually tells us that 220 train carriages filled with non-conventional oil will be going through the heart of our communities every day, without any public consultations being held" the citizen said.

Along the Line 9 pipeline route, municipalities including Toronto and Montreal have called for higher safety standards, such as hydrostatic strength tests and the installation of emergency shut-off valves at waterways. 

"Enbridge has no intention of performing a hydrostatic test on their old pipeline nor to install all necessary safety valves within one kilometer of the waterways it crosses, as required by the law. It's absolutely unacceptable!" said one of the individuals present at the action in Montreal this morning.

The Chippewa of the Thames First Nation court case against the NEB's Line 9 consultation process begins hearings on Tuesday in Toronto. 


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David Gray-Donald (David Gray-Donald)
montreal and toronto
Member since September 2014

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