Chanting and cheering broke the silence out front of Regional council as opponents of a pipeline gathered for solidarity.
“It’s only going to be about profit and not people,” said Kalen Stacy, organizer and spokesperson for Waterloo Regional Coalition Against (Enbridge’s) Line 9 (reversal). They’re a group that is determined to stop Enbridge from pumping raw tar sands oil across the province in a pipeline designed to carry light crude.
Stacy was among 30 – 40 people that spoke out front of regional hall, armed with banners, bandanas and a microphone connected to a small speaker to voice their concerns about possible threats to groundwater, and disapproval with the oil industry.
“We’ll tell our children it was good for the economy,” said Janice Lee, a concerned Kitchener resident, who doesn’t want to see big oil glorified for economic gain.
“We’re asking for council to make a public statement,” said Lee. “We’ll show up again when they make a statement of concern.”
When the group shuffled into the packed back walkway of the council chamber, the respectable protesters read their delegation. Violated treaty rights, a perpetuation of the carbon economy and an increased risk with inevitable spilling of raw bitumen were some of their key points. They made it clear that a pipeline with increased risks provides no economic benefit to the region, yet a risk to the Grand River Watershed.
“If staff could say something I think it would be appreciated,” said Regional Councillor Sean Strickland. “We need to say something.”
The Waterloo Region Coalition Against Line 9 took matters further by protesting at the Grand River Conservation Authority early in Sept. They want GRCA to oppose the reversal – GRCA says they’ll be looking into it.
Enbridge says they’ve been operating Line 9 safely and reliably since 1976, but their spill record questions what safe and reliable means in the Enbridge dictionary. Having raw tar sands oil in someones groundwater, or in a watershed or river, is a real possibility. And 94 reportable spills on line 9 for 2011 is no joke. Ultimately, no one wants a spill like Enbridge’s in Kalamazoo river three years ago of 3.3 million litres of raw bitumen in a pipe nearly the same as line 9.
The line 9 reversal has only seen mainstream publicity after the National Energy Board’s deadline on April 19 to apply to become a part of the hearings. Being a participant in the hearing is the best way to sway the NEB’s decision, which the Waterloo Regional Coalition has been a part of.
The refineries in Quebec that Enbridge wants to send raw bitumen to currently process 90 per cent offshore crude. The object is always money, and Enbridge says that the refineries employ about 1,000 workers, and with the reversal there will be more jobs, plus refined Canadian product. Their main argument is that this will ultimately help the economy, but don’t count on getting a cut at the pump.
Tags: children, Grand River Conservation Authority, Grand River Watershed, GRCA, Janice Lee, Kalen Stacy, Kitchener, National energy Board, NEB, Quebec, Regional Councillor Sean Strickland, something, voice, Waterloo Regional Coalition Against Enbridge