To whom it may concern

Suggested alternatives for transportation of Western Canadian Select (DILBIT) and other crude oil transportation throughout Ontario while boosting that area's economy!

This originally was my submission to the Ontario Energy Board regard to the Energy East Project as an attempt to switch the conversion of the NPS 42 natural Gas Pipeline to carrying crude oil throughout most of Ontario.

I can understand why they want to do this!
I feel that it has been ignored (it was buried in a grave of emails and put on a hard to reach Ontario Government web site) which is what I expected. C'est La Vie. You can ignore it too, but please, let me know if it got to you. Thanks in advance.

I used the HTML medium because hyperlinks to relevant documents is easier for the reader to access than the constant reference to back pages for bibliography, notes, index, etc. This subject is complex so, by way of a summary, I broke this into sections with headers. 

I consider this whole problem is

Summary Headings.
  1. * The Danger of DILBIT is it's neutral bouyancy in water some of it neither floats or sinks unlike normal crude oil which floats and can be cleaned up.
  2. * Any waterway, gully, ditch, etc., even if it has been dry for decades, that this pipeline corridor intersects is SIGNIFICANT
  3. * The rocky areas of the Canadian Shield has been particularly prone to full catastrophic pipeline eruptions in the past! They must be carefully studied and this recognized.
  4. * The oil game suddenly changed throughout the world - The U.S. is self sufficient in Natural Gas and almost there in Crude Oil. That crude they used to buy will go to the rest of the world making DILBIT very hard to get rid of - especially in eastern Canada where all the refineries save one (Imperial, Sarnia) can't process it. Just who are they going to sell this DILBIT to?
  5. * The Lac Megantic disaster was the result of a completely unnecessary combination of greed, carelessness and absolutely chaotic actions top with a load containing a lot of unnecessary Propane (a natural gas CONDENSATE.)
  6. * Even in Canada since 2010 when 30,000 carloads of crude where shipped this has risen to 400,000 carloads making it seem like rail is growing competition of pipelines.
  7. * Much of the direct Main Line railroads in Northern and Central Ontario have been abandoned forcing all rail freight traffic into the very narrow, congested corridor right through Ontario's most populated and developed sections.
  8. * Reports indicate railroad traffic has increased by 9 times in Canada
  9. * The solution, to me, is obvious. Simply revitalize the National Transcontinental Railway that was abandoned a few decades ago and move the ultra long and ultra dangerous freight traffic (unit trains onto that line.
  10. * North Eastern Ontario has 16 million acres of potential Agriculture land that could grow the basis for bio-fuel!

* My concern with TCPL's East Energy pipeline conversion is that it will transport considerable amounts of scrap Natural Gas Condensate mixed with bitumen to form a liquid mixture they call DILBIT.

Sep 6, 2013 I was watching CBC news and surprised at what viewed so I watched it again two hours later and then a few days after that I accessed CBCnew's archive copy Enbridge's Kalamazoo cleanup dredges up 3-year-old oil spill and watched that video for the third time.

  • I could not believe that DILBIT was suspended in the water column (neither floating, as I thought it should be) or sinking to the bottom (as the EPA people in the video assumed.) It had been in that watershed for 3 years and was still giving off gases, even though a billion dollars had been spent cleaning that up!
  • Later I went to show this video to another person and the video was no longer available (revision-Sep 13, 2013.) Taking that video off line bothered me and has continued to bother me for some months as I researched the transportation of DILBIT.
  • One of my family found it on youtube Enbridge oil spill still a mess Environment.mp4 it shows:
    1. at 0:51 minutes - there is a shot of oil globules flowing within (not on) the river taken from above the water
    2. at 1:00 minutes - there is a shot of oil globules flowing within (not on) the river taken from below the surface (underwater)
    3. this was immediately followed by the reporter Margo McDiarmid sitting in a boat, with EPA workers,
      • saying this oil spill happened over 3 years ago and "if she looked carefully at the water she could still see an oily slick coming off the surface of that river."
    4. an EPA worker explained that was a "spontaneous sheen" and said it was actually caused by oil stuck in the mud giving of gasses!
      • but I think that Natural Gas condensate was still coming out of that mixture even after three whole years had passed! After 1:50 minutes this video went on and on as these things do until finished at 3:50 minutes.

    DILBIT is a man made mixture of 25% to 40% scrap Natural Gas Condensate (with the methane, propane, ethane and Butane already removed) that was left which used to be and sometimes is still burned off to get rid of these toxic gases.

    For those of you not familiar with the Origin, Properties and Processing of the Alberta Oil Sands bitumen I prepared a condensed version of this.

    1. * The Danger of DILBIT is it's neutral bouyancy in water.

    API gravity under Classifications has this:
    1. "API gravity, is a measure of how heavy or light a petroleum liquid is compared to water.
    2. If its API gravity is greater than 10, it is lighter and floats on water; if less than 10, it is heavier and sinks."
    3. "Crude oil with API gravity less than 10 °API is referred to as extra heavy oil or bitumen."
    4. "Bitumen derived from the oil sands deposits in the Alberta, Canada area has an API gravity of around 8 °API."
    5. "It is diluted with lighter hydrocarbons (natural gas condensate) to produce diluted bitumen, having an API gravity of lower than 22.3 API, or further "upgraded" to an API gravity of 31 °API to 33 °API as synthetic crude.[6]"
    On release from the confines and pressure of the pipe those natural gas condensate start to release from the DILBIT into the air (their normal state.)
    1. should water be encountered (or a colder temperature) the viscosity of the bitumen lowers trapping the remainder of that condensate within it.
    2. That is why this DILBIT has a tendency towards neutral buoyancy and why it suspends in the water column.
    3. If DILBIT gets into standing water
        it will kind of half float around "like clouds" in a random haphazard fashion where it might also be subject to the twice yearly water Turnover which would distribute these "clouds of DILBIT" even more, further and for much longer .
    4. or when it gets into moving streams it could go hundreds of kilometres downstream until lakes are encountered.
    These conclusions are confirmed by the Concerned Professional Engineers in their following reports!
    1. Reports from the Concerned Professional Engineers
    2. Environment Canada’s own scientists are not convinced that tar sands oil can be cleaned up
    3. Can Diluted Bitumen be Cleaned Up?
    Being as how they presented this to the Northern Gateway Joint commission how could the (Pipeline Companies, National Energy Board and the Canadian Government) ignore this? And why now that the Energy East Proposal has been sent to the National Energy board is there no reference to this and it's properties - they call it the cute and fuzzy name "Western Canadian Select".  This very recent web page also refers to it as being "the benchmark for emerging heavy, high TAN(acidic)  crudes." which actually if  actually quite worrying  when one considers  it is going to sent through the rocky areas of the Canadian Shield that consist of  "acidic Archaen rocks"  that are the reason for the quick deterioration of Galvanized Corrugated Steel  structures according to the Canada Corrugated Steel Pipe Institue's publication "Road Weary" whch contains the following.

  • The fact a DILBIT spill can and does suspend in the Water Column is really, really scary because in the area I mapped (from the arctic watershed on highway ll to the crossing of the Rideau River there are, at least 133 potential spill sites into watercourses which ultimately drain into major watercourses like the Ottawa River, Lake Nipissing, Mattawa River and Ottawa River (all less than 50 kilometres away!) and this is a very small part of Ontario -- The following waterbodies are also in jeopardy of a spill - Lake of the Woods, Lake Superior, Lake Nipigon and James Bay as well as the streams running into them. The pitiful list (less than 30 significant water crossings) that was in TCPL's Energy East propaganda just doesn't cover potential problems.

    2 * Any waterway, gully, ditch, etc., even if it has been dry for decades, that this pipeline corridor intersects is SIGNIFICANT

    because multiple millions of cubic metres of DIBLBIT might be released from that pipe NPS 42 on a catastrophic accident (and there have been at least a dozen such since this pipeline was first started in the mid 1950's) Each of these waterways and there destination must be carefully studied for Risk Assessment and documented Emergency Preparedness with solutions and mitigation be prepared and submitted given prior to Approval!
    1. SC1-ArcticWatershed-TemiskamingShores.pdf
    2. SC2-TemiskamingShores-Hwy64.pdf
    3. SC3-Hwy64-NorthBay-Hwy630-NipissingMattawa.pdf
    4. SC4-Hwy630-DeepRiver-MattawaOttawa.pdf
    5. SC5-DeepRiver-Renfrew-Ottawa.pdf
    6. SC6-Renfrew-RideauRiver-Ottawa.pdf
    I decided to restrict the above mapping of scenarios to the area that I know well (there are likely 3 or more hundred more crossings just in Ontario.

    3. * The Rocky areas of the Canadian Shield has been particularly prone to full catastrophic pipeline eruptions in the past! They must be carefully studied.

    If you go through the maps you will probably notice the red explosive symbols - these indicate some of the following list of pipeline ruptures that were carefully documented by TSBC. In all, only the major catastrophic spills that occurred in North Eastern Ontario were shown.
  • Back in the early 1990's TCPL seemed to prefer to put pipeline corridors in these inhospitable areas probably because of cost savings as this was usually crown land or couldn't be developed (in either case very cheap) and this was also away from built up areas meaning they could use the lowest possible class of pipe possible, (also very cheap.) I couldn't see any value in re-repeating the excellent documentation of the 2010 Marshall, MI DILBIT disaster which only spilled a volume of 3,300 cubic metres (m3.) of product lost making this disaster very tiny compared to some of the following incidents reported to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada - pipelines.

    The following gives catastrophic spill as discussed above:
      Date / link TSBC report/ volume product lost / comment or relative order of magnitude to Kalamazoo spill
    1. Feb 19,2011 P11H0011 Beardmore ON -- 2,790,000 m3. (this was 846 times greater than Kalamazoo)
    2. Sep 26,2009 P09H0083 Martin River ON -- 1,430,000 m3. (this was 433 times greater than Kalamazoo)
    3. Sep 12,2009 P09H0074 Englehart ON -- 3,420,000 m3. (this was 1,036 times greater than Kalamazoo)
    4. Jul 23,1991 P94H0036 Latchford ON -- 4,194,000 m3. (this was 1,271 times greater than Kalamazoo)
    5. May 30, 1979 Englehart ON Timmins Times (this was news media)
    6. Oct 13, 1977 North Bay ON Nugget(near Hwy 17) (this was news media)
    7. Oct 13, 1975 Englehart ON Wikipedia (this was wikipedia)
    8. May 17,1961 North Bay ON Nugget Airport Road. (this was news media)
    The largest spill is #4. Latchford at 4,194,000 m3. (cubic metres) which must be considered as the worst case scenario and should be compared with the Kalamazoo spill (3,300 cubic meters) which fouled 56 kilometres of the Kalamazoo waterway in August, 2010 and it hasn't been cleaned up yet!

    I have to wonder if Trans Canada Pipe Lines, the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments along with the citizens really realize what the effects of changing the "cargo" of that pipeline from a gas to a liquid like DILBIT could be to the people and the ecology of these lands and waters.

    I expect that a clean-up of a worst case catastrophic spill would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars!

    4. * The oil game suddenly changed throughout the world - The U.S. is self sufficient in Natural Gas and almost there in Crude Oil too. That crude they used to buy will go to the rest of the world making DILBIT very hard to get rid of - especially in eastern Canada where all the refineries save one (Imperial, Sarnia) can't process it. Just who are they going to sell this DILBIT to?

    Tired of being held hostage by their demands for energy, particularly crude oil, the USA did a lot of research and in 2011 published - Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale Oil Plays The result is that they have a lot more hydrocarbon resources than even they thought - seems like a change in administration was good as the following map shows. Let us hope that shale gas/crude extraction isn't as dangerous or as short lived as some say. However, recent reports indicate it is going to continue or expand.

    A series of media articles:
    1. A 2013 May 14 Bloomberg's article - Oil Shockwaves From U.S. Shale Boom Seen by IEA Ousting OPEC indicates that there has been a major change in Oil Supply that will hit economies of the world fairly hard.
        Canada isn't immune but because of the composition of the Alberta Bitumen the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries still want it as it produces a lot more diesel fuel than shale crude and the fact that they have already invested heavily in coking refineries to process this bitumen! This is probably the only place in the world (because there aren't all that many cokers) that wants Alberta's DILBIT !

    2. A 2012 Oct 10 Reuters article - To use cokers, U.S. refiners scour Europe and Africa states that:
      • "U.S. refineries invested heavily in delayed coking units, anticipating they would be processing increasing quantities of heavy crude from sources such as Venezuela, Canada and Saudi Arabia".
      • "Instead they have found themselves processing light crudes from shale plays such as North Dakota's Bakken and the Eagle Ford in Texas."
      • So, these mega refineries and cokers got caught the same as the ones now delayed or cancelled in Alberta.
      • They didn't expect the U.S. shale gas/oil boom either
      • this has up-ended the economics of the refining business throughout the world.
    3. A 2014 Jan 1 Financial Post article - How upgrader plants are giving way to new oil sands technologies: confirms the above.
        In 2008 the Alberta players had delayed and/or cancelled over a 100 billion dollars worth of upgrader plants which would have converted bitumen to syncrude (which is bitumen processed by cokers in Alberta to produce a product very similar to light crude oil.)
          "Rather than sink billions into on-site processing, Imperial and Suncor plan to use a novel technique dubbed paraffinic froth treatment to convert molasses-like initial output into a product able to flow in pipelines."..."The strategy reflects a view that deep discounts for less-processed heavy oil will collapse as export pipelines are built. The gap, or differential, has widened to more than US$40 in recent months against the U.S. benchmark West Texas intermediate."..."There “will be some market problems in terms of dealing with more light crude oil barrels in the marketplace, especially after the BP Whiting [Ind.] refinery switches over to a diet of all Canadian heavy,” Mr. King said in a report this month. The switchover will push more than 100,000 barrels of light oil into an already saturated market, he said, exacerbating pressure."
        However, the Prarie Provinces have been and are shipping a lot of Syncrude not by pipeline but by rail and shipping it to the world! TCPL's propaganda indicates that this Syncrude could be used to dilute the bitumen but is that practical as it would have to be over 50-50 and that stuff is mixed so this must be re-refined. I am no expert but I am not stupid!
    4. Fortunately this 2014 Alberta report on Upgrading and Refining shows that neither Alberta or it's Oil Companies have just sat back but have moved forward creating valued added processing (upgraders) so that as the 2008 recession declined and the price for these products resumed it's upward climb and the demand for their value added products such as syncrude increased. There are now 5 operating upgraders and four operating refineries with 3 more new project.
    5. The Canadian Government have been counting on major pipelines particularly, George W. Busch's Keystone XL (but there already is a Keystone pipeline that has been transporting DILBIT to refineries into the U.S. Gulf Coast and some of the refineries there are equipped to handle Alberta Oil Sands bitumen. They don't seem to be having much luck and I attribute that to the new tank cars with steam heating coils that can carry Alberta bitumen to any selected U.S. Coker Renfinery. The abilities and flexibility of the rail lines once they have awakened have really put pipelines in jeopardy.
      • Whatever U.S. political party that okays the XL might never ever get enough votes to govern for decades.
      • Why doesn't the Canadian government understand this?
      • And don't they realize that there is also a growing number of Canadians getting very angry about this DILBIT transportation in pipelines near them too?
      • This is growing much faster than Federal Government ken!
      • Push and win these pipelines into Eastern Canada to export to countries offshore and I doubt very much that they will stay in power beyond their current mandate.
    6. Because Eastern Canada only has ONE refinery with coking ability (already supplied with DILBIT by the Endbridge pipeline of Kalamazoo fame) it is logical to assume the other destinations for the DILBIT transported by this proposed Energy East project pipeline has to be shipped offshore and to undemocratic countries who are desperate but can't afford coking facilities
    7. And why do the Canadian Oil Producers and Federal Government people complain when their barrel of DILBIT is discounted? Do they really think that somebody would pay willingly pay 100% of the cost and shipping of DILBIT when in shipping the recipient would lose 30% to 40% of that to worthless natural gas condensate (and they must dispose of it) along with a further 15% loss in coking it into Syncrude so that they can refine it?
    8. Who else do they think that they can sell this DILBIT too, when all of a sudden, the world is awash in much cheaper and more easily refined light crude oil simply because the United States does not need as much crude oil as it did just a few years ago! That light crude oil that the US had relied on and no longer wants will be sold to other countries (but probably not to those in the European Union which is already well supplied by the North Sea and Arabian crude oil producers!)
    I don't see the rush, particularly by the Canadian government, because that bitumen will still be there (as it has been for over the last few million years) if it can't be sold at a decent profit and to the benefit of Albertans and Canadians?
    1. Why worsen the situation in Alberta if it isn't necessary, especially when the extraction alone is so hungry for water and natural gas energy? I have read reports that suggest that Alberta might run out of natural gas to extract that bitumen by 2028.) I hope I am wrong because when these energy resources (natural gas) are used up prior to 2028 -- that may be the end of Alberta Oil Sands extraction, period!
    2. Why else would a Nuclear provider targets oilsands
    3. I suspect that Ontario's Natural Gas Electriciy Generating Plant was cancelled when they discovered that natural gas from normal western sources was in short supply and that the prices could get to be astronomical.
    4. The $13.5 billion price tag of the abandoned Voyageur upgrader and coker and it's demise is evidence as to why the Eastern Canada refineries (except for Imperial Oils Sarnia facility - supplied by Endbridge DILBIT pipeline of Kalamazoo notoriety) have no intention of constructing or simply can't afford a coking facility.
    5. Bitumen and heavy oils are not drawing anywhere near the price of sweet crude and or syncrude and the above article also refers to "steep discounts of $15 to $18" applied to Alberta crude. Actually a discount of only $18 is a very good deal for Alberta DILBIT as it is 25 to 40% DILuent (which is scrap and can only be burned (or released to the air but the US has hefty fines for that) and the rest is bitumen.
        if light crude is getting a $100/barrel the discount for a barrel of raw DILBIT has to be $30 (.30 x $100) as there is only 70% of the barrel is bitumen in that mixture.) Then because that bitumen still needs to be coked an additional 15% will be lost which is and additional $4.50 is waste then the discount would have to be $34.50 to equal light Crude.
    6. This tells me that there isn't much chance of somebody buying the Alberta DILBIT crude that has been pumped to the Atlantic coast because right now there is a glut of sweet crude or syncrude in the world simply because the U.S.A. is not buying so much of it!
    7. And an Apr 10, 2013 Financial Post's article - Can pipelines in Eastern Canada boost refineries?
      1. This article repeats that Imperial's Dartmouth refinery in Nova Scotia is for sale... "Imperial''s stance underscores that while TransCanada Corp.'s Energy East pipeline are welcome relief valves for the Canadian energy industry they may do little to boost the prospects of some refineries in Central and Eastern Canada.
      2. A little further along in this same article states that "Brent-linked OPEC and North Sea crude roughly make up 82% of Eastern Canadian imports, while Mexican and U.S. oil makes up 6%, according to EcoResources Consultants."
          The Canadian Government and has stated on several occasions that these Eastern Canadian refineries are reliant on non democratic countries. So what? We actually have relatives and friends and good relations in non-democratic Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium.
      3. The South Portland, Maine to Montreal, QC pipeline now feeds offshore crude from the Atlantic Ocean to Endbridge's Line 9 which has just received NEB permission to be reversed so that oil or BITUMEN feeds from the West from Endbridge's pipelines in Michigan to Montreal, QC to South Portland, Maine to be shipped overseas.
      4. Curiously enough nobody asked the Citizens of South Portland, Maine and now it seems they want to pass a law forbidding Alberta DILBIT from passing through their city and on to their seaport. In this topsy-turvy world that may or may not happen but I expect it won't!
      5. For years this pipeline has been recieving off shore light crude oil from South Portland, Maine west to some refineries in Quebec and Ontario.
      6. The latest approval was to reverse this flow so it went to the east.
      7. To where?
      8. It is obvious that this pipeline will no longer be able to deliver this offshore sweet crude to Quebec and Ontario refineries!
          This same article says "Enbridge estimates its Line 9 reversal will save refineries about $23-billion over 30 years from accessing lower cost crude." Don't they mean no crude? These refineries can't process DILBIT!
            Are these savings going to occur because these refineries are going to be shut down because of Lack of Crude? Will Endbridge or the Canadian Government reimburse them for losing their businesses? How many Canadians will lose permanent jobs? Is Ontario and Quebec's fuel supply (gasoline and diesel) in danger of being cut off?
        Maybe I am stupid but didn't anybody in the Canadian Federal Government or the NEB realize what was going to happen with the line 9 reversal?
      9. Right now quite a number of people weekly cross the US border to fill their gas tanks up - is the Canadian Federal Government trying to encourage this?
      10. Following are two very recent articles about the RECENT GLUT OF OIL in the world
        1. 2014 04 09 North American Oil Glut to Keep Prices Low, IMF says
        2. 2014 04 10 Gulf Coast Storing Oil Due to Supply Glut
      11. Why are the Federal Government and TCPL trying to change the material carried in that pipeline to something that nobody wants?
      12. This conversion of a 42" pipeline to carry DILBIT is something that, to me, doesn't seem to be very well thought out!
        • Who are they going to sell DILBIT to?
        • Have these (unknown) recipients made any commitment(s) to purchase at an agreed price which won't leave Canadians holding the bag?
        • Has this even been presented to those recipients yet?
      13. Harper Lobbies Europe as Canada Fights Dirty-Oil Label This just continues the above dialog about the efforts of the Canadian Government and the responses to it.
    Click for a PDf
    With the PDF it is possible to zoom in on this so that you can see and read the name or the current crude oil pipelines on the continent:
    The Ontario Energy Board's background paper -- Ontario Natural Gas Pricing and Supply
    shows that from 2000 to today Quebec & Ontario have steadily become dependent on U.S. Natural Gas and from circa 2009 net importers of Natural Gas.
    About the same time as I found the above map in OEB's background documents that showed the switch of Quebec and Ontario's import of natural gas, the Ontario's Gas Generating Plant boondoggle hit the media again So I started researching the background of this too.

    On Sep 30, 2009 TCPL issued the following media release -- TransCanada to Build $1.2 Billion Power Plant in Southern Ontario.

    In the U.S. it seems that trains are gaining on Pipelines

    9. * The solution, to me, is obvious. Simply revitalize the National Transcontinental Railway that was abandoned a few decades ago and move the ultra long and ultra dangerous freight traffic onto that line.

    It is my considered opinion that given other options most of the long unit trains would prefer to use more direct routes that circumvent passing through the very heavily developed and populated areas of Southern Ontario especially if the track beds are up to mainline standards and there is a savings of 500 km. each way. So what needs to be done:
    1. from Nakina to Calstock (196 km.)
        Completely revitalize the abandoned and neglected track sections and infrastructure to modern main line status
    2. from Calstock to Cochrane Ontario (208 km.)
        Like the HBR the Ontario Northland acquired and kept the middle section of track intact and usable as a short haul line and the ONR should be given one time funding to return this stretch to modern main line status.
    3. from Cochrane to the Quebec Border (120 km.)
        Completely revitalize the abandoned track sections and infrastructure to main line status.
    4. from the Quebec Border to the Saint Lawrence River bridge crossing near Quebec City (730 km.) is the CN - National Transcontinental line.
        The CN who owns this stretch should be given one time funding to upgrade this stretch to main line status as it has been using and maintaining it as a short haul line. They too, could charge other railroads to pay tolls for passage.
    Returning the historic National Transcontinental Railway route to service will save unit trains over 500 km. from Nakina, ON to Quebec City, QC while circumventing the extremely populated and developed areas along the north shores of Lake Ontario and Saint Lawrence River.
    1. I don't care who operates and does required maintenance on revitilized tracks within Onatario but I would like to suggest that once the tracks and infrastructure has been brought up to par - this should be given over to the ONR or Ontario along with federal subsidies like bill (C-18) similar to those given to the American owned Omnitrax - HBR - Port Churchill (There should be no qualms about this because if the Canadian Government will subsidize an American Company why not a Canadian Province?)
    2. And give the ONR and Ontario (or whoever takes it over)the ability to extract tolls from traffic (other than them) over this route within Ontario so that they (or whoever else maintains it) can be self sufficient and able to maintain that stretch ad infinitum.
    3. Legislation should direct unit train traffic to use this more northern route with exceptions for the others as required and documented.
    4. But even higher tolls should be set for using the more southern route too, as this requires maintenance also.
    5. This could be the salvation of the ONR as the province now owns the main line track between the two abandonments, so far!
    6. This just might also be the ticket for access of the proposed Ring Of Fire because they could be doing the required processing much closer to existing water power electrical generating plants (this will require a lot of energy), have far better transportation options either east or west if these lines are open because now Sudbury is kind of a transportation backwater now that the rail lines are being closed towards the Great Lakes and to the east leaving only two (CN & CP) with almost identical route destinations as the CPR with a lot more distance to go and crowded traffic conditions to deal with. What they might be shipping could have unit trains and hazardous cargo too.
    7. The areas around most of this suggested line revitalization is not very built up but reduced and enforced speed limits in those areas would be wise.
    8. It is also a much needed source of employment in areas that are extremely depressed through no fault of it's own, it's lack of resources but simply because it has a serious lack of transportation for anything it produces!

    This track abandonment also substantially increased the the ultra heavy truck traffic on the two Trans Canada Highways 11 (completed late 1940s) and 17 (completed mid 1960s) that were completed funded (construction and maintenance) by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and it's predecessors.

    1. When I retired in 1993 not a nickel had ever been given to Ontario for building and maintenance of Trans Canada highways.
    2. I think that is still true today even though somebody has been prettying up the highways around the capital, Ottawa.
    3. The kicker is that every other province have had their Trans Canada Highway System paid for in full both for construction and maintenance.
    4. This is just one of the other ways that past federal governments have shafted Ontario.
    5. The two abandonments of the Nakina to Quebec Border transcontinental line has thrown a great deal of extra traffic and extremely heavy loads onto both these highways
    6. but more onto Highway 11 because truckers don't use Highway 17 from mid October to April or May because it is just too dangerous with the fogs, freezing rain, lake effect snows, etc. during those months.
    7. By now Highway 11 warrants a conversion to be four lanes and the current lane probably needs a complete overhaul because of the overloading since the mid 1990's.
    8. That too, is going to cost a bundle and it should to be completely paid for by the Federal Government.
    9. Revitizing these tracks and throwing it open to the long unit trains could put some of that expenditure for highways on hold for a while!
    Here is another map circa 1927
    click for pdf
    The above 1927 map was put out by the Federal Government to Transportation and Development of Central Canada. Please note the railway lines I have discussed were all in place back then. It also shows the Agricultural areas (Developed and Potential), mining areas which I have highlighted into different areas.

    10. * North Eastern Ontario has 16 million acres of potential Agriculture land that could grow the basicss for bio-fuel

    There are 16 million acres of potentially fertile glaciolacustrine soils within the Great Clay Plain alone.

    I am against using popular food (corn, grains, etc.) for the production of ethanol but there are other plants that can produce this same stuff that will grow in this area.

    Get an agricultural base going there and in 40 years that will rival or exceed the GDP from this Ring of Fire. This should be tried but it needs better transportation to the outside world to be successful. A few years back the Ministry of Agriculture and Food issued Northern Ontario Agriculture Facts and figures in Brief which states that:

    "Climate change is having a global impact on agriculture, especially in Northeastern Ontario. What could this mean for the future of this region?"
    1. "2,800 farms which return $190 million in agricultural farm cash receipt"
    2. "700,000 acres of farmed land."
    3. "It has been estimated that most districts in Northern Ontario can increase active agricultural lands from 20 to 50% by drawing idled private lands back into use."
    4. "The Great Clay Belt (GCB) in Northeastern Ontario consists of 16 million acres of potentially fertile glaciolacustrine soils. This is double the amount of cropland currently being farmed in the province."

      I have expanded the map and drawn in where the 49th and 50th latitudes are as this is where the southern portion of the Prairie Province's "Bread Basket" lays. .
    5. "To date only about 2 per cent of this land has been developed for agriculture ."
    6. "The Great Clay Plain also stretches into Northwestern Quebec, which contains another 13 million acres."
        Quebec hasn't ignored their area of the GCP!
        You don't have to believe me just check out Abitibi-Temiscaming which states under Economy :
          "The region's workforce has one of the highest percentages in the primary sector of any region of Quebec, with nearly one out of six employees working in that sector.
        1. The mining sector is the most important economic activity of the region.
        2. Despite recent declines in workforce, the agriculture and forest industries still contribute significantly to the region's economy. Economic activities are mainly dedicated to exportation products, and are even closely linked to the Middle North region in its development through hydroelectrical and mining projects, and through exchanges with First Nation northern communities.
        3. Sportive tourism, including winter sports, fishing, hunting and cycling competition, is also a significant economic sector even if negligible by comparison with industrial sector."
        4. Rural and agricultural settlement
          "The agricultural development of northern Abitibi and the northern part of Témiscamingue by a relatively homogeneous population of French Canadian Catholic settlers has introduced a mainly rural land development. There, small towns, gravitating around a low density node generally composed of a wooden Roman Catholic church, an elementary school and few houses spread over the territory, according to an orthogonal division on the land, with rectangular parcels. Those small towns are gravitating themselves around a larger city, as La Sarre, Amos, Macamic and Ville-Marie, where major institutional equipment are established. If small towns might seem more or less vernacular, major cities are often more planned and influenced by Anglo-Saxon urban planning, with sometime an orthogonal grid with lane network."
    7. "The Canada Land Inventory has identified 4.4 million acres of Ontario's GCB as Class 2, 3 or 4, which are suitable for cultivation. The remainder has either not been classified or is unsuitable for agriculture."
    I have long applauded the Ontario government's decision to include 5% ethanol into vehicle fuels (The last 3 of my personal vehicles have seldom if ever had straight gasoline in them - without problems) and i am further pleased that now almost all the stations now have 10% ethanol blended into small vehicle gasoline - it cheaper and the vehicle emmissions are down significantly.

    Ontario has proven the Oil Industry and it propaganda against bio fuels simply wrong and self serving.

    But I am against growing known food crops, such as, corn, wheat, etc. to be converted into ethanol fuels.

    A single species of wheat known as Red Fife turned the Prairie Provinces into a major crop producer!

    This might be replicated on the Great Clay Plains of Northern Ontario!

    A native North American plant that will deliver up to 4 times as much ethanol per acre than corn. It is named Jeruselum Artichoke or Sunchoke, a native sunflower that has been proven to grow very well between 49 and 50 degrees of latitude on the Mordan, Manitoba National Experimental farm where it has been intensely studied.

    I know of fields near Earlton where it has gone wild. They are delicious. I have recently been growing these at home because I am diabetic and can eat it with impunity. Even the extracted sugars or pasta will not raise my blood sugars - be that sugar, pasta, etc. but it is hard to get in Canada. The tubers are a delicacy in Europe and the mid East! And what is left is good cattle food. On top of that they only have to planted every 3 or 4 years.

    Production of ethanol from Jerusalem Artichokes
    Other documentation follows:
    1. Alberta Invoates Technology Futures - Jerusalem Artichokes
    2. Jerusalem artichoke has feed and biofuel potential for Alberta
    3. Optimization of the Economic Potential of Jerusalem Artichoke as a Feedstock for the Production of Biofuels
    4. Alterative Field Crops Manual Jerusalem Artichokes University of Wisconsin

    In Southern Ontario the Jerusalem Artichoke is considered as an invasive weed because of it's quick growing habits it will choke out corn and soy bean crops. However, In North Eastern Ontario there are plenty of opportunities to plant and harvest jerusalem Artichoke in areas where these affected crops are not found.

    Some test strips and even a small portable hammermill and distillery would prove or disprove it's benefits and hazards.

    There are also other considerable opportunities to produce (ethanol or biodiesel) from wood waste and/or pulp/paper black liquors.

    Besides that ALGAE FUEL is another upcoming source< and is being studied from other sources including mining tailing ponds where it is possible to grow huge amount of algae (there are 15,000 abandoned tailing ponds in Ontario.) This is collected by vacuuming and then stressing these plants (which bringing them down to about 5 degrees Centigrade) and presto you have Bio Diesel.

    And as the Ontario Ministry of Agricultre and Food states it is a good area for the commercial raising of cattle and other ungulate production.

    But bringing these on line relies totally on having a transportation network available that is mostly a direct line to the target market which is quite probably achieved by re-vitalizing the CN National Transcontinental Line.

    Following is the 5th Canadian Atlas Map, but slightly different. It won't hurt to take a second look. If the CN's National Transcontinental Line is reopened it can reach almost all the eastern seaports for export but unlike the pipeline it could also be used to import goods, products, equipment, etc. particularly to the Prarie Provinces without going that extra 500 kilmetres (each way) through major built up and developed areas along the shores of the Saint Lawrence and Lake Ontario.

    click for pdf

    Thanks for your kind attention. It you have any queries please feel free to call.

    Best Regards

    Roy Summers
    121 Timmins Street
    North Bay, ON, P1B 4K2