With Enbridge’s largest project in history, an estimated $8.2 billion pipeline on the doorstep of local communities, a Town Hall meeting was held in Morden to discuss what the reality of this means.
Presented by three speakers they brought their opinions on the Line 3 pipeline and took part in questions and discussion with residents of the area.
The speakers Will Braun, Morden area Journalist and farmer; Laura Cameron, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition; and David Scott, Swan Lake First Nation shared their perspective on the project.
Cameron spoke about the potential dangers of pollution Line 3 could have on the area if there was a potential leak.
In Minnesota, the pipeline has met with significant resistance which will have a final decision June 2018. The line would pass through undeveloped areas, causing concerns for delicate soils, aquifers, and the Great Lakes.
Cameron says in her opinion there isn't a need for a new pipeline.
"It is an unnecessary expansion project. I recognize that the Line 3 pipeline is there and that it is deteriorating and that there are many other pipelines in that corridor. I think creating a new much larger piece of infrastructure that’s going to double the capacity, really is a step in the wrong direction."
Enbridge spokesperson Suzanne Wilton explains there is a need for the project.
"This is an essential safety maintenance project this is not an expansion. What this will do is restore this pipeline to its full capacity. This pipeline has been operating at roughly half of its capacity for several years under voluntary restrictions to ensure its continued safe operation."
When Line 3 is replaced the old line will be decommissioned.
The new line passes through Swan Lake First Nations Reserve. Scott says this line is inevitable as there is a need for hydrocarbons. However, he wants to keep Enbridge accountable.
"Do it the best you can to make sure that it’s safe. That it’s complaint with all the regulations that it is supposed to be in compliance with."
Pipelines are the safest way to transport fossil fuels and other hydrocarbons, with the new Line 3 to transport 7,600 barrels of crude oil daily.
In 2016 there were eight reportable spills, which was a reduction to the 14 in 2015. The volume of these spills were 657 barrels in 2016, 480 in 2015.
In the event of a spill, Wilton says there are protocols in place to help contain and handle the situation, with drills to prepare for an incident.
"Emergency preparedness is a key part of what we do to prepare for the unlikely event that there is an incident. So we're ready to respond and respond immediately to an issue and ensure a quick, rapid response and full clean up."
Wilton explains no incident is ever acceptable to Enbridge.
All spill reports can be found on Enbridge's Corporate Social Responsibility page.
Braun and Scott shared similar positions that we need to reduce our reliance on the need for fossil fuels and hydrocarbons as not looking towards alternatives and protecting our environment are short-sighted.
Director of the Manitoba Pipeline Landowners Association Gerry Demare drove from Somerset as concerned landowners.
Demare agrees that we need reduce our reliance on fossil fuels but this is an endeavour that can not be done overnight.
"As farmers as well we must recognize that climate change is real there is a way to start the mitigation processes. That’s not necessarily by cutting off the flow of oil tomorrow or impeding the replacement of Line 3 as we know it. As landowners, we're stewards of the land and we want to make sure Line 3 is safe."
MPLA is dealing with the National Energy Board to make sure the decommissioned Line 3 to ensure the old line will not be abandoned.
Enbridge says they encourage all discussions and talks on their projects, with information on their website.
For those who want to learn about the process and everything it entails Enbridge says they will have representatives to answer questions in the surrounding communities in the coming weeks.