Montreal

Enbridge Line 9 protesters scale tower in Port of Montreal

Activists scaled a 20-metre-high tower overlooking the CP rail yard at the Port of Montreal Monday morning to unfurl a banner protesting Enbridge's Line 9B pipeline.

Protesters concerned about potential consequences of shipping oil by rail across Quebec

Anti-Enbridge protester Nicolas Ouellet says there aren't enough safeguards in place to protect communities on the rail lines. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

Activists scaled a 20-metre-high tower overlooking the CP rail yard at the Port of Montreal Monday morning to unfurl a banner protesting Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline.

The demonstrators say they're worried about the impact of trains transporting oil from Montreal across Quebec to a New Brunswick port.

"These trains go in the heart of a lot of communities across Quebec," said protester Nicolas Ouellet.

"One spill of these trains in our communities, it's a second Lac-Mégantic."

Line 9, which runs between Sarnia, Ont., and Montreal, is a 40-year-old pipeline that's part of a larger plan of Calgary-based Enbridge to transport more crude from Western Canada to refineries in Eastern Canada. The refined oil products could then potentially be exported to foreign markets.

Protesters attached a banner reading "No to Enbridge Line 9B, Our drinking water or their dirty oil," to a tower overlooking the Port of Montreal. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

The pipeline originally flowed in a west-to-east direction in the 1970s, but that was reversed in the late 1990s in response to changing market conditions. Now Enbridge wants to reverse it again.

The National Energy Board approved the reversal of Line 9B, a 639-kilometre section of the pipeline that runs from North Westover, Ont., to Montreal, in March 2014. 

The pipeline was to have started up in November, but was delayed when the federal energy regulator flagged concerns about the protection of water crossings along the route.

Although the company insists Line 9 has operated safely throughout its history, there's been local opposition to Enbridge's plans to ship more oil eastward due to concern about the risk of a major spill into water supplies.

Montreal police officers were on the scene of this morning's demonstration, but said they had no jurisdiction to make arrests because the rail yard is the responsibility of rail police.

They said they would hand over the file to their rail counterparts. 

A map showing the route for the Line 9 proposal that will reverse and increase the flow of oil in the existing pipeline. (CBC)

with files from Canadian Press

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