New Research on Rail Risks of Energy East Pipeline


On behalf of Ecology Ottawa, and as part of their initiative to stop the “Energy East” pipeline, one of our volunteers, Mike Fletcher, completed a concise research project about the safety of transporting oil.

Some of the key findings in his report, available here:

  • Diluents make up about 30% of the diluted bitumen mixture that would be shipped by pipeline
  • The natural gas liquids used to dilute bitumen are very light, and highly flammable, and need to be shipped back to Alberta after the diluted bitumen reaches the east coast
  • If the pipeline was carrying solely diluted bitumen, over 450 train cars of flammable diluent would need to travel back to Alberta - every single day
  • Everything is further detailed and annotated in the attached study. These are more strong arguments for ensuring a TarFree 613. Mike explains some of the reasons he began his involvement in this work:

    “Becoming more knowledgeable has made me increasingly concerned particularly about climate change. The current tepid response to our climate security challenges, particularly by our federal government and some businesses, has motivated me to become active. Current proposed pipelines such as ‘Energy East’ and Line 9 have been a flashpoint for me personally, as these projects support an unholy trinity of climate change, habitat destruction and horrible impacts from an impending spill – all must be stopped.

    I have been discouraged by the poor quality of reporting and resultant discussion around these issues. But a careful review of the facts debunks many of the myths that buttress poorly developed opinions. The comments that pipelines are safer than trains are ones that I thought deserved attention. When our Prime Minister states this is true, is he looking out for our safety or for an industry to which he’s cravenly allied and needs more ways to get bitumen out of Northern Alberta?”

    Expect to see Mike doing more to stop “Energy East”. Mike lives near the proposed pipeline just outside Munster, Ontario and is ably abetted by his wife and daughter. When not working on environmental concerns, Mike enjoys gardening and white water kayaking. “I really love hitting the rapids, and on good days they love me back”.

    Click here to see the full details of the report.

    Mike Fletcher has a professional background in brewing, bio-based fuels and products and energy management. In these areas he has variously managed both production and engineering. Mike’s concerns about environmental issues have increased greatly over the past several years.

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