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Category Archives: Pipelines

NEB Modernization Review – ORA Submission

The NEB has proven to be an industry friendly structure aiming to support and promote energy markets for the oil and gas and pipeline industry – yet the NEB is also charged with regulating, approving, monitoring and enforcing compliance of this same industry. ORA submits that this is a conflict of interest, and raises real questions about the independence and objectivity of the NEB, and just how well the environment and public safety is being protected. The federal government’s reliance upon tax revenues and the need for job creation from the energy industry has led to a significant lack of environmental rigor in its decision making.

The recent NEB ruling of reasonable apprehension of bias in favor of TransCanada, came as a result of the NEB panel’s inappropriate conduct in relation to their meeting with Jean Charest while he was acting as an advisor to TransCanada. This conduct only came to light through a Freedom of Information Application. Confidence in energy projects can only come when we have an open, transparent and accountable government.  Continue reading

Take a 3-D Flight over the Energy East Pipeline Corridor

The Ontario Rivers Alliance commissioned this 3-D Flyover of the Energy East Pipeline corridor across Ontario to graphically show the waterbodies that would be at risk if a oil spill or rupture were to occur.  The pipeline intersects more than 1,850 streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands along its route through Ontario.  To provide perspective, the thick white lines indicate a 15 km area on either side of the pipeline.

Panel Review of the Environmental Assessment Process – ORA Presentation

The Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance presented to the Expert Panel on the Review of the Environmental Assessment Process, on Thursday, 3 November 2016, in Sudbury, and also made a detailed written submission below:

Download (PDF, 7.05MB)

Our experience in Ontario is that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans defer to the will of the provincial regulators, which should be the other way around.  We need our federal government to set a high standard that will be followed by the provincial players.  Both the federal and provincial governments have gone through an intensive streamlining process which has undermined confidence in their ability to effectively review applications and Environmental Reports, let alone adequately monitor and enforce the conditions of approvals.  Consequently, environmental protections have become very lacking in these streamlined and broken processes.

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Transition Initiative Kenora Motion – Energy East Panel

Update – The National Energy Board has issued two letters with respect to Energy East and Eastern Mainline Projects:

1) Panel Recusal and Adjournment of Hearing OH-002-2016.  This document could be viewed on the Board’s website at at receipt A79373 or at the following link:
2) NEB Chair and Vice-Chair Decision Statement.  This document could be viewed on Board’s website at at receipt A79374 or at the following link: 

ORA supports Transition Initiative Kenora’s (TIK’s) Notice of Motion filed with the National Energy Board (NEB), on 22 of August 2016, for Members Gauthier and Mercier to recuse themselves from the Panel presiding over the Energy East proceedings.  Continue reading

Energy East Pipeline – ORA Response to Proponent

Energy East Project Map

ORA has been granted Intervenor Status in the Energy East pipeline asset transfer and Eastern Mainline Project (Project).  ORA also submitted comments in the National Energy Board’s (NEB’s) online survey.  We write in response to Energy East Pipeline Ltd. and TransCanada Pipeline Limited’s (applicant) 6 July 2016 comment letter regarding the NEB’s review of the Project.

The purpose of the NEB hearings is to provide an opportunity for all concerns to be voiced and examined, so that ultimately an informed decision can be made.   This cannot be accomplished if the scope of issues is limited.

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Ontario Rivers Alliance Intervening in Energy East Pipeline Hearing

Kalamazoo River Crude Oil Spill

MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 6 July 2016

Ontario Rivers Alliance Intervening in Energy East Pipeline Hearing

SUDBURY — The National Energy Board has granted Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) intervenor status in panel hearings regarding the Energy East Pipeline application.

ORA chairperson Linda Heron said the announcement indicates how much progress the volunteer organization has made since it was formed to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems.

“Like many other Canadians, our members have serious concerns about the potential for spills and leaks in an aging pipeline that was designed to transport natural gas and would now be converted to move diluted bitumen,” said Heron. “Our research indicates that Energy East uses insufficient leak detection technology to effectively monitor the pipeline’s integrity, and that any single spill could cause irreparable damage to one or more of over two thousand water bodies along the pipeline route.” Continue reading

ORA approved as Intervenor in NEB hearings for EE Pipeline


Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is very pleased to announce that the National Energy Board has approved ORA as an Intervenor in the panel hearings regarding the Energy East Pipeline application.

ORA’s area of focus will be:

  1. The potential environmental and socio-economic effects of the Project, including the environmental effects of accidents or malfunctions that may occur in connection with the project, and any cumulative effects that are likely to result from the Project. The ORA will hire experts that will undertake:
    • A review and analysis of historic data regarding spill causes, frequency, volume, response time, and effectiveness of clean-up, will provide a more realistic perspective of environmental and socio-economic impacts – along with recommendations.
    • A literature review and analysis of historic data will examine the causes of winter oil spills, and what peer-reviewed scientific literature has concluded on interactions between oil and ice, snow, and below freezing temperatures, including effectiveness of clean-up. There is evidence of difficulties and issues surrounding the detection and cleanup of spills in these conditions (Dickins et al. 2009; Fingas & Brown, 2013). A full assessment of this issue is currently absent from the proponent’s submission and is necessary to understand the full environmental effects of the project, and will provide a clearer perspective of the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
    • A complete review of all water body pipeline crossings within the province of Ontario. A full and exhaustive list of water body crossings was not included in the proponent’s application; however, ORA suggest it is necessary in order to completely understand the scope of potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
  1. The appropriateness of the general route and the engineering design and integrity of the Project and the safety and security associated with the construction and operation of the Project.  The ORA will hire an expert to undertake an engineering review and assessment, and make recommendations regarding the:
    • Review and analysis of historic data regarding spill cause.
    • Threat posed by the existing natural gas pipeline(s) located in close proximity to the converted oil pipeline;
    • Adequacy of the design to sustain the greater static and dynamic loads incurred when transporting oil as opposed to natural gas; and
    • Adequacy of the proposed leak detection instrumentation to detect environmentally significant leaks, and to support the stated goal of shutting down in a timely manner.

The Hearing Panel granted intervenor status to 337 applicants and commenter status to 271 applicants. Those not granted participation rights in the hearing process will be able to provide input in the review through expanded public engagement activities to be carried out by additional Board Members. A total of 2,652 applications to participate in the Energy East and Eastern Mainline hearing were received by the NEB. Of those, over 100 were duplicates and approximately 1,450 were submissions of a form letter about climate change and upstream greenhouse gas emissions, which will be the topic of an assessment conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The NEB will hold its panel sessions in:

  • Saint John – August 8-12
  • Fredericton – August 15-19
  • Montreal – August 29-September 2
  • Quebec City – October 3-7
  • Regina – October 12-14
  • Winnipeg – October 25-28
  • North Bay – November 1-4
  • Calgary – November 7-10
  • Thunder Bay – November 28-December 2
  • Kingston – December 12-16

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