Resisting reversal: Stopping the tar sands in Ontario

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As Enbridge Corp. applies to the National Energy Board for approval of the reversal of flow for a section their outdated and currently unused* "line 9" pipeline in soutwestern Ontario, resistance has been growing. Grand River Radical Radio spoke with Stop the Tar Sands KW rep Paisley Cozzarin about recent and upcoming actions against this proposal, as well as some of the details of the proposal itself.

In May 2012, Haudenosaunee land defenders and environmental justice and indigenous solidarity activists disrupted the hearings into the proposed flow reversal, which could see tar sands crude creeping to the East Coast for shipment to Europe and Africa.  Phase 1 of this reversal would see the Sarnia to North Westover, a site near the Grand river, on Six Nations land (the Haldimand Tract).

If the project is approved, the pipeline, built in 1976, could transport the highly viscous crude derived from the industrial process in the northern Albertan tar sands, across more than 12 watersheds, and is similar to the pipeine (line 6b) which burst in 2010 in the Kalamazoo river in Michigan,  poisoning the local and downstream ecosystems, and severly impacting residents and animals, in the most expensive pipeline failure in the American mideast history. 

The extreme high pressure needed to push tar sands crude thorugh the aging pipelines will inevitably lead to more failures in the future, similar to that of Kalamazoo. In addition, the terminus of phase 1 is in a spot that will necessarily require transport by the rest of the line 9 infastructure to external markets.  The division of this project into seperate phases, is a clear attempt to avoid the massive cumulative environmental implication of such a proposal, and the fast tracking of this process was designed to disempower affected Indigenous nations, and shut out the public.

On July 25, 2012, there will be solidarty actions taking place across Turtle Island to remember the Kalamazoo pipeline disaster, and to unite to fight against Enbridge Corp. and those who would force dangerous energy infastructure projects on communities while disrespecting the treaty and other rights of Indigenous peoples.

The decision from the NEB hearings is expected in late August, but in the mean time, for more info check out for more info about resistance to the pipeline reversal propsal and read the report posted on the Natural Resources Defence Council wiebsite ( titled Going in Reverse: The Tar Sands Oil Threat to Central Canada and New England.

*the guest has noted that she erred at the start of the interview in saying the line was decomissioned, the line was never decomissioned, it just sits unused.

Grand River Radical Radio is a project of the Grand River Media Collective (@GRiverMC) and airs daily from 8-10am on 100.3fm, in waterloo region, and streams on

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