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:
- 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.
- 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