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Protesters interfering with "important safety maintenance," Enbridge rep Graham White says 0:47

A group of protesters has blockaded the road to an exposed section of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline early this morning in Burlington, Ont.

The protesters say they plan to continue the blockade for at least 12 hours. 

A news release says the 12-hour stay represents 12,000 "anomalies Enbridge has reported to exist on the line."

“Enbridge calls these developments integrity digs,” said Danielle Boissineau, one of the protesters, “but to anyone watching the Line 9 issue, it’s clear Enbridge has no integrity. This work on the line is just a Band-Aid, a flimsy patch over the most outrageous flaws in the Line 9 plan.

“Line 9 has a lot of similarities to Line 6B that erupted in the Kalamazoo River. The risk is just not worth it,” she said.

Enbridge spokesman Graham White says the company plans "to continue the integrity digs elsewhere where there are no protesters."

White says the protesters are "interfering with important safety maintenance for the line. If they're interested in this being a safe line, and for us to maintain that safety for the future, this is exactly counter to those efforts."

From July to December of last year, there were 308 maintenance digs along Line 9 — and the vast majority were for cracks in the line. In July alone, Enbridge filed 105 maintenance notices for digs on the line, according to documents filed with the National Energy Board.

Pipeline has 13,000 'structural weaknesses:' protester

The group says its members include residents of Burlington who don't want the pipeline running through their city.

“Line 9 has nearly 13,000 structural weaknesses along its length” said Brian Sutherland, a Burlington resident. “And yet Enbridge is only doing a few hundred integrity digs."

There were about 20 protesters at the site early Tuesday. As of 8:35 a.m., no police had arrived.

Last June, a group of protesters shut down construction at an Enbridge pump station in rural Hamilton.

About 80 people interrupted construction at the North Westover site.

In March, the NEB approved a request from Enbridge to reverse the flow and increase the capacity of the controversial Line 9 pipeline that has been running between southern Ontario and Montreal for years.

Line 9 originally shuttled oil from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal, but was reversed in the late 1990s in response to market conditions to pump imported crude westward. Enbridge now wants to flow oil back eastwards to service refineries in Ontario and Quebec.

It plans to move 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day through the line, a rise from the current 240,000 barrels, with no increase in pressure.

Opponents argue the Line 9 plan puts communities at risk, threatens water supplies and could endanger vulnerable species in ecologically sensitive areas.

Enbridge Burlington protest