A city committee voted to pass a motion to review Endbridge's plan to reverse the flow of a pipeline that runs through Flamborough.
Councillor Brian McHattie added a last-minute motion to the General Issues Committee meeting agenda Monday. McHattie's motion flags that Enbridge has submitted a proposal to reverse the flow of their pipeline that runs from Hamilton to Sarnia to carry diluted tar sands bitumen towards the east coast.
"There has been a number of unfortunate pipeline spills in Alberta and across the border," McHattie told committee. The pipeline runs through two "environmentally-significant" areas in the Village of Westover; the Spencer Creek and Fairchild Creek.
The pipeline could transport between 50,000 and 90,000 barrels of gas per day, but "is capable of carrying 'beyond 150,000 [barrels per day],'" reads the motion. City staff will now be directed to investigate the pipeline reversal's potential impacts on Hamilton.
Enbridge spokesperson Graham White assured CBC Hamilton that the proposed flow reversal would “be very safe.”
“Our goal is always zero spills,” he said.
Enbridge has had some trouble in the U.S. A report from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board says Enbridge pipeline controllers in Edmonton ignored repeated leak warnings for 17 hours before shutting down a pipeline that poured 20,000 barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in July 2010.
White said that should the Flamborough proposal be successful, Enbridge would conduct a thorough environmental and socioeconomic assessment.
“The proposal comes from requests from refiners and shippers in Western Canada, Montreal, and the U.S., who want to send more of their product to Canadian refineries.”
Those refineries are currently using foreign crude, which comes at a much higher cost. This flow reversal could help their price margins, he said.
Councillors Judi Partridge and Robert Pestula voted against the motion. The pipeline runs through their wards.