Oil giant Enbridge sent a delegation of representatives to Six Nations Elected Council on Monday to discuss the Pipeline 9B Reversal and Line 9 Expansion project. But Band Council seemed to already be quite well educated on the issues surrounding the reversal and expansion project and clearly showed their discontent.
The Two Row Times learned that Six Nations does not have an environmental committee and that the Consultation and Accommodation Process team (Six Nations Economic Development and Six Nations Lands and Resource Office) are working with Enbridge on this project.
Roger Jonathan was the first Councillor to voice his concerns regarding Line 9. “I have been tracking your lack of success up and down the Grand River. You don’t have individual support. All you have is government support and that’s all that matters to you. As Six Nations we are responsible to take care of the environment. We’re concerned with the number of spills over the past few years. What steps are you taking regarding Line 9?”
Councillor Darryl Hill was next in line with questions. “Part of Line 9 that goes under the Grand River was built in 1976. When was Line 11 built which is east of Caledonia?” An Enbridge rep told Hill he wasn’t for certain but believed it was built in the late 1960’s. Hill countered with, “What has Six Nations been accommodated with since the late 1960’s?” Enbridge couldn’t answer Hill’s question but it became evident that the answer was zero. Hill told Enbridge reps that there has been no accommodation or compensation of any sorts and wondered why, since the pipelines cross two unceded areas of the Grand River which is under the Haldimand Tract. Hill stated, “We had this same meeting with you guys two years ago and have been given zero answers and you’re sitting here now still not answering our questions.”
Councillor Carl Hill had this to say to Enbridge representatives, “My concern is the safety of the environment up and down the Grand River. We have a new water plant. If there was an oil spill in the river, how would this effect our water plant? What is the mechanism to let us know that there is a leak up the river?”
“We monitor our pipeline 24/7,” stated one Enbridge rep. “We have valves on both sides of the river crossing and we can close these valves in three minutes.” Asked how many barrels of oil the pipelines carry in a single day, the Enbridge rep stated 300,000 at which point Hill stated that would be a lot of oil spilled into the river if the pipeline were ever to burst.
Councillor Dave Hill was up next with questions. “If the pipelines cross our territory twice, what happens if we don’t want you on our territory anymore? The problem is, you don’t listen to anyone. If the government tells you to go ahead, you do it, and don’t care what others think.”
Enbridge reps attempted to assure Elected Council that they were making the right choice by favouring the two pipeline projects.
Elected Chief Ava Hill intervened and told Enbridge reps, “You’re acting like we agree with you. You’re not answering Dave’s questions.”
District Councillor Bob Johnson told Enbridge reps that there is not a lot of community support for any pipeline project that directly affects Six Nations territory and told them, “You got a long way to go.”
One Enbridge rep told Council that, ‘Prior to my, and others starting, I’m not sure about consultation process. We’re not here to consult, we’re here to facilitate discussions.” Another Enbridge rep told Council, “I am hearing two different discussions here. One is an accommodation discussion concerning the financial compensation aspect. The other discussion I am hearing is the technical aspect, which is why we (Enbridge) are here today.”
Elected Chief Hill then stated, “Ok well if you’re only here for the technical discussion, I have a technical question for you. How long does it take you to fix a leak?” Hill was told that a line is shut down as soon as a leak is detected. But what could be considered more damaging then a potential leak is the clean-up of the leak which could take hundreds if not thousands of years for the environment to get back to the state it was in before the leak.
Councillor Roger Jonathan told Council that Director of Six Nations Lands and Resource Office Lonny Bomberry is the one who had asked for the meeting with Enbridge as he also works on the CAP team, which is the land negotiating team for Elected Council. Jonathan stated, “My concern isn’t accommodation here, my concern is I don’t think we are going to get an agreement that we support. My concern Chief, is that this is just another run-around.”
Councillor Lewis Staats inquired about the Line 9 reversal project and was told by Enbridge reps that the reversal already happened last year and admitted they never consulted with Six Nations on the matter. “We shut the valve off last year. We informed the county and the land owners.” Staats stated, “But you didn’t consult us and we own the land.”
Elected Chief Hill ultimately told Enbridge reps that the next step for them is to hold a community meeting on Six Nations. Enbridge worried about Chief and Council not being there to support them but Hill assured them they would have representatives at the meeting. One Enbridge rep then suggested to Council that her biggest worry would be if residents of Six Nations showed up and were ‘fear mongering.’ Hill told her, “We can’t control a community meeting. Who ever wants to attend, will attend. And for the record this isn’t considered a consultation with Six Nations.”