Pipeline: exercising our right

Pipeline:  exercising our right

At our December 20th meeting Council unanimously voted on my motion to ask the Ontario Energy Board to direct Enbridge to re-assess the route for supplying the York Energy Centre.

As we subsequently learned, procedures require that the Township first request the right to ask for a hearing; and then if that right is granted we can request the re-assessment.

Our Staff and Township Lawyer are to be congratulated for getting us now to the point where we are asking for the right for a review as this could have been refused.  You can read this request here.

Arguments in support and against giving us that right were submitted February 17th.     The process allowed for private individuals who had not registered earlier in the process to make submissions.  I understand that >20 letters were submitted.

Here are some excerpts to give a flavour for the arguments presented:

Greg Locke wrote:  “The OEB improperly ‘approved’ the pipeline prior to the YEC being ‘approved.’  The latter was a result of the Province’s removal of the Planning Act to negate King Township and my community’s resistance to it.  But this occurred after pipeline’s approval.”

He also wrote:  “Right to safety:  ….YEC may expand its capacity and/or become a non peaking (full- time generator; also, demand for natural gas service from present and future industrial and commercial facilities who may tap into the line….”

Andrea Loeppky said:  “They [Enbridge] state that it is unfair to the public interest to review the approved route. One must question whether the public interest is truly threatened by a delay ……..Since it is widely known that Ontario has surplus energy, a delay does not put the general public in jeopardy.”

She also argued that “….the disadvantage of the preferred route is there are more potentially contaminated areas and has the highest number of residential properties with groundwater wells within 200 feet of the proposed pipeline route”

Marie Filipe wrote:  “….the section [of the selected route] of Lloydtown-Aurora Road between the Gate Station and Weston road alone is densely populated with homes on both sides of the road, a public school, a group home and two gas stations.  ….  Many of these homes are less than 30m from the proposed pipeline.”  And she also wrote that “Enbridge describes the selected route as have having “the least amount of specimen trees along its route.”

Not surprisingly both Enbridge and YEC have submitted arguments against giving the Township the right. (Read YEC’s here.)  The two themes of their arguments are that the due process has been correctly followed and that there is an urgency to proceed.

Next step:  King Township can file one more submission by February 23rd.

I continue to believe that the Township must continue to push for a re-assessment.  Other jurisdictions are acknowledging risk of gas pipelines and imposing setbacks.  Ontario is clearly lagging behind best practices.

Planned York Energy Centre (YEC) high pressure natural gas pipleline route

Planned York Energy Centre (YEC) high pressure natural gas pipleline route

One Response to “ “Pipeline: exercising our right”

  1. Gavin Watt says:

    Earlier this week on CBC (and I’m sure on other news programmes) there was a great hullabaloo about pipeline failures on private land in Texas that threatened peoples’ lives. In the Globe on the weekend’s Business Section, there was a very large article about the limited lifespan of pipelines and their potential hazard.
    My point – pipeline safety in one form or another is a hot button issue. The iron is hot.

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