Environmental campaigners are taking some of the credit after Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. announced it was withdrawing its application for a controversial, 10-kilometre gas pipeline through rural Hamilton.
“The $206-million pipeline planned in Flamborough—including through eco-sensitive Beverly Swamp and Spencer Creek—sparked environmental protest locally but also from climate activists across Canada,” the Hamilton Spectator reports. “The natural gas giant says the project will be revisited in the future when there is ‘sufficient need’ for what it argues is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available.”
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The project drew opposition from Hamilton City Council, which asked the Ontario Energy Board to consider its climate implications, and the local conservation authority, which reacted to an assessment of the ecological impacts along the route. Hamilton 350, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA), and Environmental Defence Canada also campaigned against the pipeline. Enbridge paused its application in May, then declared last Thursday that “there is no longer a need for the project” due to tanking demand.
“There was certainly a good amount of opposition,” 350 Hamilton organizer Don McLean told The Spec. “I believe the support we saw from the city and the conservation authority also made a difference.”
“We took down Enbridge’s pipeline plan!” OCAA enthused Friday, in an email to supporters. “Your emails, calls and letters had a big impact on pushing Enbridge to reconsider this pipeline and the likelihood of getting it built.”
While Enbridge’s announcement cited falling demand for gas, “we have always maintained that there was indeed no need for this pipeline and that there were many better ways to meet our energy requirements, especially lower-cost efficiency efforts,” the organization added. “One of the most outrageous parts of the Enbridge proposal was the company’s intention to use the pipeline to deliver fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England via Ontario and Quebec and thereby circumvent a fracked gas pipeline ban in New York State. Now, Ontario will not be used as a convenient detour around climate leadership.”
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