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Enbridge to reapply for approval to replace aging St. Laurent pipeline

Enbridge says an aging natural gas pipeline in east Ottawa needs to be replaced, however, the Ontario Energy Board isn’t convinced.

“We’ve done detailed inspections, analysis, risk assessments that show that the pipeline does need replacement; and we are submitting to the Ontario Energy Board,” Steven Rogers Enbridge operations manager, east region, told CTV Ottawa in an interview Thursday.

Rogers adds that some homes, businesses, and institutions heavily rely on the pipeline that runs along St. Laurent Boulevard for their natural gas supply.

“It serves about a 165 thousand customers, and it’s a vital component of the energy mix for the National Capital Region,” Rogers said.

The St. Laurent Pipeline replacement project would see the installation of approximately 13km of high and intermediate pressure segments. It runs underground.

Enbridge had previously applied to the Ontario Energy Board to do this work, however, it didn’t have too much luck.

“Enbridge Gas has not demonstrated that the risk associated with the subject pipelines warrants complete replacement at this time,” reads a May 2022 decision and order by the board.

The city had also opposed the project, citing its desire to move off fossil fuels.

“The City of Ottawa’s plan is to decrease natural gas use, so it raises the question as to why should we invest — at that time $124 million dollars,” said Richard Carlson with Pollution Probe.

“This decision was really a wake up call to the industry that it cannot continue with business as usual,” Calson said.

Meanwhile, some councillors, like Tim Tierney, question the decision.

“We simply can’t shut off natural gas, and convert to Electric,” Tierney said.

“Like we did in the past, moving from oil to high efficiency gas, will we get to electrification one day? Possibly, but it’s going to have to do it in the same way, where we actually have a plan.”

Enbridge is planning to reapply to the Ontario Energy Board with new information.

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