An oil spill in Cambridge? It could happen.

By  | February 27, 2011 | 10 Comments | Filed under: Local News, Politics

Zoom out on map to see vicinity to Cambridge
I wrote this story during last year’s election, but everyone was too busy “Dougie Bashing” to pay much attention.

We were recently asked for more stories on the enviroment so I thought I’d bring this one back up.

Enbridge Corporation was in the news several times last year because of two major oil leaks, with a third being reported last September.  Although the third leak, near Buffalo,N.Y., turned out to be a false alarm, it should serve as a warning to local officials.

The reported third leak was from Line 10 which originates in Westover, Ont  (A “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” berg between Cambridge and Hamilton.) The 91 mile, 70,000 barrel per day (bpd ) pipeline was built in 1962, and runs from Westover to New York state. It runs through Puslinch, just outside of Cambridge.

Although it’s “out of the Cambridge jurisdiction” officially, if a break were to occur in the 50 year old pipe it would have a devastating impact on our area. The Beverly Swamp, Puslinch Lake, Mill Creek, Shades Mills, The Speed and Grand Rivers would all feel the repercussions, not to mention the groundwater in the area.

The track record of Enbridge is less than exemplary. Enbridge was forced to shut the 670,000 bpd Line 6A that sends crude from Canada to the Midwest due to a leak near Chicago. That leak spilled 6,100 barrels.

Another line, Line 6B, was shut in late July due to a spill in Marshall, Michigan that  poured 19,500 barrels into the Kalamazoo river system.

It could happen here.

I am not being an alarmist. I’m not claiming the sky is falling; I’ll leave the “Chicken Little” prophesying to the environmental bloggers at other sites. This is a situation that few people are aware of, and awareness is the first step in avoiding a potential disaster.

What do you readers think?
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10 Responses to An oil spill in Cambridge? It could happen.

  1. Ruth-Anne White September 23, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Way to go Scot, be proactive, rather than reactive. I remember when this line was going in, right up to the 70s. I always wondered about the pipeline. Maybe Cambridge should be thinking about some kind of an environmental action plan for prevention? Would be a good place to put tax dollars.

  2. a spectator September 23, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Wow, if your facts are right then we had better hope nothing breaks. Good story, you break another one!

  3. scot September 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks Ruth-Anne. Few people remember it, we’re talking alost 50 years ago, and I believe that’s the problem.
    Thanks Spec. When I found out about it I found it hard to believe.I checked and double checked, it’s there.

  4. Facetious Lee February 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

    An oil spill would provide many jobs.
    Water clean-up, land clean-up, tree clean- up, bird clean-up, Jefferson Salamander clean-up etc.
    A major economic boom for the area.

  5. Jimm Hillis February 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

    A unique way of looking at it.

  6. Facetious Lee February 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I should run for political office.
    Jobs, jobs and more jobs!

  7. Allan Dettweiler February 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

    You are an idiot Mr. Lee. So, perhaps you would be a good politician.
    Economic boom?
    What would happen to my Enbridge shares?

  8. Brett Hagey March 13, 2011 at 11:12 am

    An oil spill would be terrible here certainly, but when you stop to consider what’s happening in Japan with the earthquake, thousands of people watching their entire lives get swept away in the tsunami, I have to think we’re damned lucky to be living where we are. All a matter of perspective I suppose.

  9. Sue Taylor December 2, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Canada is a beautiful place, unless you ignore that quite ugly scar on its face – the tar sands, source of the dirtiest oil of all. I don’t know what I despise more – the tar sands or Barrick Gold. Canada’s top two most shameful and devastating in their impacts on indigenous people, lands, water supply, corporate blue wash and green washing and I could go on and on.

    A big problem could come with Enbridge’s gutsy plans to reverse flow on this line. Once you dig a little deeper into this, Scot, you’ll see why this is so very important. And it’s not really even doing all that was originally proposed – back when Ottawa was throwing its support at it. Even with this pipeline, did Montreal really stop buying foreign oil? And their not the only ones still at it. This is not ensuring that we keep Canadian oil here nor is it ensuring we buy Canadian oil. This thing is so messed up.

    Some dear friends of mine are very active and high up in this movement. I could put you in touch with some folks whose information on this will blow you away. You should write something substantial on this for public awareness and education. It could be that, in the not so distant future, you’re the guy who said “Hey, I tried to warn you.” No 50-year-old infrastructure should go unchecked.

    Also, I checked out what I was asking you earlier about easements and property acquirement. It turns out, I was right about what I told you. This one could get very interesting.

  10. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 2, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Sue, you said ” You should write something substantial on this for public awareness and education.”
    Brendan has been working on a story for some time. The Enbridge spindoctors have been stonewalling him rather than attempting to bamboozle him, which makes me think they are hiding something.
    Brendan’s story will run next week, then we’re going to look deeper.
    The municipal boundaries were a lot different in 1963, and West River Road (Where the pipe runs to) wasn’t part of Galt.
    Because it’s so hush-hush, I’m not even sure how many of our officials are aware of it.
    This is my main concern;awareness that it’s there. If there were a spill it would be an ecological disaster and I think something should be done to ensure that there are emergency measures in place to deal with it.

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