QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett rose in the Ontario Legislature raising concern of the economic and employment impacts on Haldimand-Norfolk if Enbridge Line 5 pipeline were to close.

On Thursday, Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey brought forth a Private Member’s Motion to fight the closure of the Line 5pipeline. MPP Barrett pointed out the Imperial Nanticoke refinery has about 300 full-time employees, and on any given day 200 contractors.

About 25 per cent of the petroleum products sold in Ontario go through the Imperial Nanticoke refinery, and Line 5 is vital to the supply of raw product for that facility. Nanticoke has a variety of essential products: gasoline and diesel, aviation fuel, asphalt, heavy oil and home heating fuel.

“Imperial Oil in Nanticoke has gone through a tough time with the shutdown of the CN Rail line over the past four months between Caledonia and Nanticoke,” Barrett said during his address to the Legislature. “… Enbridge Line 5 plays a critical role in our refining and our petrochemical sector and is a tremendous, tremendous benefit to the Great Lakes region, with a significant volume of crude oil for processing, both by the refinery in my area of Nanticoke and, of course, in Sarnia,” Barrett continued.

Barrett has been in regular contact with officials at Imperial. Although the company is looking at alternate methods of moving petroleum product from the west, it is more expensive for Imperial and, in turn will be for the people of Ontario. 

“Although Imperial is watching this situation very closely, they are hopeful there will be no impacts,” Barrett said. “Of course, it is disappointing that the governor of Michigan is willing to jeopardize this key artery that connects North American crude oil to Ontario refineries.

The transportation of unrefined fuels via pipelines is demonstrably safer and faster than by railroad and water. Moreover, Enbridge Line 5 has operated with an unblemished safety record since installation and has been confirmed fit for service by its US safety regulators. In contrast, we know of a number of tragedies that have unfolded in Canada and abroad with respect to the use of rail and road.

Barrett stressed the impact could also affect propane supply.

“We know that 45 per cent of Canada’s propane use takes place in Ontario, and, as has been explained, if we saw such a shutdown there would obviously be a disastrous disruption in fuel supply,” Barrett said. “It would have severe implications for agriculture, for agri-food and our rural and remote communities. In my role as parliamentary assistant to agriculture, food and rural affairs, I can attest that a Line 5 shutdown would have broader impacts for the movement and transportation of primary agri-food, food processing inputs and food and beverage products.”

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For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett@pc.ola.org

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