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Quebec environmentalists call for vigilance concerning tar sands

Montreal, October 22, 2012 - As thousands of people, representing various organizations, gathered today across Canada to protest the tar sands, environmental group Equiterre called for Quebecers to keep a watchful eye on Enbridge, the Calgary-based oil company seeking to bring tar sands crude through Quebec's ageing pipelines, exposing the province to a significant risk of oil spills and threatening efforts to reduce oil dependence. Specifically, Equiterre warned citizens that Enbridge is about to embark on a stealthy series of seemingly open-door meetings, and urged those who become aware of meetings in their area to speak out against Enbridge's pipeline project.

Objections to the project include Enbridge's questionable track record:

  • Enbridge is the company behind the largest inland oil spill in the history of the United States, in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010.
  • In a report on the Kalamazoo oil spill, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) condemned Enbridge for its "pervasive organizational failures" and "complete breakdown of safety."
  • The cleanup costs for the Kalamazoo spill have surpassed $700 million.

There are also safety concerns about the suitability of Quebec's pipelines for transporting tar sands crude:

  • Line 9, the pipeline that Enbridge would like to use, is already more than 40 years old.
  • It was built to carry a lighter type of oil, not heavy tar sands crude (which requires more pressure to be transported, and is more corrosive and abrasive).

"The future of energy in Quebec and Canada depends on reducing dependence on oil," said Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre. "This project is incompatible with the new Parti Québécois's government's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce oil dependence."

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For more information:
Loïc Dehoux, Equiterre
514 605 2000

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