A pair of Six Nations activists told Hamilton councillors they will stage a violent protest — if need be — to fight against the Enbridge pipeline plan.
Wes Elliott and Ruby Montour, Haudenosaunee activists who have been behind numerous land-oriented protests in Brantford, told the city's general issues committee Wednesday that they will fight Enbridge's plan.
The company plans to reverse the flow of oil going through Line 9, which cuts across part of Flamborough on its way through southern Ontario.
"We are paying attention to what they're doing and we don't like it," Montour said. "If you think we can't do anything about it, you're badly mistaken."
The Six Nations residents encouraged the city to work with the Six Nations confederacy council so "we can formulate a plan together," Elliott said.
The two bodies also have similar interests in the contaminated land at the John C. Munro Hamilton International airport, Elliott said. He suggested working together on a unified approach in both matters.
Enbridge appeared before the committee to defend its plan to carry heavy crude oil through the pipeline. The company has learned a lot since more than 20,000 barrels of oil spilled into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010, said Enbridge spokesperson Graham White. It has also learned from when Line 10 ruptured in a Binbrook soybean field in 2001.
"We've come a long way as a company in terms of our emergency response and our capacity and our speed of response," White said after the presentation.
If there is an incident on Line 9, White said he's confident the company will respond "very quickly and effectively."
There were a handful of presentations against the pipeline at the meeting, including one that said there would be increased pressure on the line as oil of higher viscosity moved through it, including diluted bitumen.
But Scott Ironside, Enbridge's director of pipeline integrity programs, said there will not be additional pressure on the line.
"The maximum operating pressure is not being changed," he said. "There is effectively no change in the type of operating pressure pipeline will see."
Coun. Brian McHattie was scheduled to introduce a motion this afternoon. However, a number of councillors were not present and the meeting did not have quorum.
The motion includes requests for, among other things, pipeline integrity studies from the National Energy Board, information on the corrosiveness of diluted bitumen and its implications for pipeline safety.
If the reversal occurs, the oil will be flowing in the original direction when the pipeline was built in 1975, Enbridge said.
The National Energy Board approved the Line 9 reversal phase one project, which impacts the reversal from Sarnia to Westover, in July. Enbridge plans to apply for a reversal of the flow of Line 9B, which runs from Westover east to Montreal, in late 2012. Subject to regulatory approvals, the company hopes to reverse the flow in spring 2014.