Calgary-based company Enbridge is offering up to $20,000 to several Quebec municipalities through which its Line 9 pipeline runs.
Enbridge spokesman Eric Prud’Homme said the money would go toward improving emergency services in the towns.
"This means in terms of having access to equipment. Most of them would be volunteer firefighters, so it’s our duty as a corporation that is responsible in the communities where we work and live to ensure that they have everything they need to be responding to any risk," Prud’Homme said.
The Line 9 pipeline runs from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal’s east end and passes through several small Quebec towns along the way.
Though the pipeline currently flows from east to west, Enbridge has been lobbying to have it reversed since 2008.
This has some people concerned over whether Enbridge’s money comes with strings attached.
"We know already that something was going on, and we don’t want to say, ‘OK, we’ll take the money’ and then they arrive to say, ‘put a yes on the pipeline reversal’ and then we cannot say no because we already have the money from them," said Patricia Domingos, mayor of Ste-Justine-de-Newton, a town just east of the Ontario border.
She added that the amount of emergency equipment Enbridge’s money would buy wouldn’t do much in the event of an environmental disaster.