Enbridge soothes Laval’s pipeline jitters

By Robert Frank

Mayor Alexandre Duplessis met Enbridge public affairs director Éric Prud’homme, April 4, to address the city’s concerns about the energy distribution firm’s plan to reverse the flow in its oil pipeline, which traverses the eastern tip of the island.

The municipal administration wanted reassurance about the company’s safety measures and emergency response plans for its Sarnia-Montreal interprovincial pipeline.

Prud’homme told The Suburban in an interview that criticism by local environment groups are not supported by the facts.

“Guy Garand [of the Laval regional environmental council] said that Enbridge plans to increase pressure in the pipeline,” he observed. “That’s absolutely false. We will continue to operate at the same level of pressure that the permit issued by the National Energy Board granted us. The product doesn’t need any additional pressure.”

Prud’homme added that Garand also misled the public with a jeremiad about a spill three weeks ago in Arkansas, which occurred after ExxonMobil reversed the flow in one of its pipelines.

“Canada and the United States have very different regulations,” he explained. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges.”

“The flow through Laval in Line 9 will be going in the direction that it was designed to carry the oil in the first place,” Prud’homme contrasted. Last month Graham White, a spokesman at Enbridge headquarters in Calgary, told The Suburban that there had never been a major leak on the line in the 40 years it has operated.

Prud’homme slammed recent news reports claiming that the energy carrier won’t offer any guarantees to municipalities, in the event of an oil spill.

“Enbridge takes responsibility for 100 per cent of its activities,” he insisted. “We’re a very responsible corporation, and if something happens, we face the music.”

Mayor Duplessis declined The Suburban’s request for comment on the meeting.

“Enbridge presented the overall pipeline project to Mayor Duplessis,” his spokesman Pierre-Philippe Lortie replied.

“Laval’s mayor wants to make sure all residents have all the information that they need to make up their own mind about this important project,” he continued. “To that end, he is welcoming all parties involved in this project to inform him of their concerns.”

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