Protesters' Blockade Halts Work on Enbridge Pipeline

A group of around 25 protesters blockaded and successfully halted construction work at an Enbridge construction site at the pipeline known as Line 9 in southwest Ontario on Tuesday morning.

“We hope to stay here indefinitely,” protester Rachel Avery told CTV News.

The activists say the Line 9 poses a danger to people, animals, land, and water. Tuesday’s action was specifically aimed at preventing the installation of a new valve.

“This construction project is a band-aid attempt and Line 9 is too old and damaged to operate safely.  The new valves aren’t designed to protect rivers, they’re designed to maximize the amount of bitumen that can flow through the line,” activist Sarah Scanlon said in a statement put out by the group.
In March, the Canadian government approved Enbridge’s plans to reverse the pipeline’s flow and increase its capacity.
Workers on Tuesday were reportedly at the site when the activists arrived, and were later moved to a different site to for the day. Although the activists were initially trespassing, Enbridge has now given them permission to remain, although such permission was due to run out at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening.
A spokesperson for the company, Kristen Higgins said that “by interfering with this important work, these protest groups have put safety at risk.”

Enbridge was notably responsible for 20,000 barrels of crude leaking into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010.

Activists say such direct action is necessary because attempts at formally raising their concerns have been ignored.