Toronto council eyes Enbridge proposal for Toronto oil sands pipeline – by John Spears (Toronto Star – February 23, 2013)

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Toronto council wants a say in Enbridge’s proposal to pipe western Canadian oil, including oil sands crude, through Toronto

Toronto council wants a say in a proposal to pipe western Canadian oil – including oil sands crude – through the city.
A report from city lawyers warns that a study by local conservation authorities shows a bad spill could threaten the city’s drinking water and air.

On Thursday, city council authorized the city’s legal staff to take part in hearings on the proposal to pump more oil through the pipeline. The line crosses every major watercourse in the city, and a city report notes that a pipeline break “is a potential threat to City of Toronto water treatment plant intakes.”

“We need to be there, we need to be at the table,” said Councillor Anthony Perruzza, who proposed the motion at council.
“We have a pipeline that currently exists, it’s 40 years old, it runs through the entire city and we’ve seen in other jurisdictions what can happen if the line breaks.”

Built in 1976, the 30-inch pipe carried western Canadian crude east until 1999, when Enbridge reversed the flow to carry imported oil from the east coast westward to Sarnia.

Now, with a glut of oil in western Canada and the U.S., Enbridge wants to restore the eastward flow.

It also wants to boost the pipeline’s capacity to 300,000 barrels a day, from 240,000 barrels.

The westernmost part of the line – between Sarnia and Westover, near Hamilton, got clearance last year to reverse its flow, to supply a refinery in Nanticoke.

Enbridge now wants to reverse the rest of the line to carry oil first to Montreal – and then possibly to east coast ports and refineries.

The line could either transport conventional crude or “dilbit”, which is oil sands crude, diluted with solvents so it can pass through the pipeline more easily.

Critics argue that dilbit is more corrosive and riskier to transport – a claim that Enbridge denies.

The company needs clearance from the National Energy Board to reverse the remainder of the line; the board is now preparing for hearings.

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