Mileage 111.6 and 88.7 are respectively synonymous with February 14th and March 7th of 2015. These significant numbers represent the locations and dates of the largest train derailments in the history of the province of Ontario. Two CN trains carrying Alberta tar sands crude oil derailed and exploded into huge fire balls one week and 23 miles apart, releasing millions of liters of bitumen crude oil into the environment. The first derailment, occurring in a remote wooded area, and the second at the bridge crossing the Makami River, less than 2 km from the Town of Gogama. Continue reading
ORA has specific concerns regarding the environmental impacts of a converted pipeline in the event of an inevitable spill over its lifetime. A spill would have the potential to contaminate, and possibly permanently destroy key sources of drinking water that municipalities and First Nation communities rely on. While ORA is concerned about all spills that would occur, we will specifically address the spills of a larger and more environmentally significant volume that will occur over the life of the pipeline. What follows is an examination of the following questions:
- What is the expected frequency and volume of spills, based on historical data?
- Can the proponent’s proposed design credibly detect, contain, and effectively respond to environmentally significant leaks?
- Does the proponent’s application address the technical issues and risks that could arise from a conversion project that has already been in service for up to 40 years and was not designed to carry crude oil in the first place?
- Are the number of rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands adequately accounted for in the EEP documentation?
- Will the current NEB review process instill stakeholder confidence, and result in credible information on which this government can base its final decision?
ORA submits that this project could facilitate expansion of the tar sands, and increase Canada’s carbon pollution. We need an environmental assessment to look at this project’s effect on climate change, as well as the impacts on the potential for increased spills throughout the country.
The tragedy of Lac-Mégantic, Gogama, and other explosive derailments across North America show the risks of moving oil by rail. We need an environmental assessment before we put any more oil trains on the tracks.