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Enbridge in action or inaction

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  • Don Bain
    From: guujaaw [mailto:guujaaw@haidanation.net] Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2010 5:52 PM To: Doll Squires; Bessie Brown; Don Bain Subject: Fwd: Enbridge in action
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1 12:37 AM
      From: guujaaw [mailto:guujaaw@...]
      Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2010 5:52 PM
      To: Doll Squires; Bessie Brown; Don Bain
      Subject: Fwd: Enbridge in action or inaction

      please circulate

      Company at centre of huge oil leak into Mich. river has
      history of pipeline problems

      Thu Jul 29, 10:47 PM
      David Runk,Tim Martin, The Associated Press


      BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - A Canadian company whose pipeline
      Enlarge Photo
      (The Canadian Press)

      By David Runk,Tim Martin, The Associated Press

      BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - A Canadian company whose pipeline
      leaked hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into a Michigan river has
      experienced leaks, an explosion and dozens of regulatory violations in
      the past decade throughout the Great Lakes region and elsewhere in the

      Enbridge Inc. or its affiliates have been cited for 30
      enforcement actions since 2002 by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
      Safety Administration - the U.S. Department of Transportation's
      regulatory arm. They include a warning letter sent Jan. 21 in which the
      agency told the company it may have violated safety codes by improperly
      monitoring corrosion in the pipeline responsible for the massive spill
      Monday in Talmadge Creek, a waterway in Calhoun County's Marshall
      Township that flows into the Kalamazoo River.

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated the
      spill at more than 3.8 million litres of oil, and by Thursday, the slick
      had travelled at least 55 kilometres downstream. Gov. Jennifer Granholm
      warned of a "tragedy of historic proportions" should it travel another
      130 kilometres and reach Lake Michigan and the vacation communities that
      depend on it.

      Steve Wuori, an Enbridge executive vice-president, said
      the company was doing maintenance all along the pipeline, but the
      section at the leak site was not scheduled for replacement.

      After being criticized for dragging their feet in their
      initial response to the Monday spill, company officials have pushed the
      message that they're doing all they can to clean and contain it.
      Enbridge CEO Patrick D. Daniel again apologized Thursday to the
      residents of Calhoun County "for the mess that we have made" to the
      river and nearby properties.

      "We take full responsibility and we will be here until
      you are happy in this community," Daniel said. "We still have a huge job
      in front of us, there's no doubt about that."

      On Thursday, hundreds of workers and contractors went to
      work on the oil with more than 3,600 metres of containment and
      absorption boom, 14 skimmers, 43 vacuum trucks and a number of tanker
      trucks, excavators and other trucks, Embridge said. The EPA said cleanup
      efforts will take several weeks.

      Health officials went door-to-door to advise residents
      in about 30 to 50 homes near the spill to evacuate because of air
      quality concerns, Calhoun County health official Jim Rutherford said. He
      said health officials were advising residents of about 100 homes near
      the river that use well water to use bottled water for drinking and

      The slick, which emits a noxious, unpleasant odour, has
      killed fish and coated other wildlife in oil.

      About 20 injured animals, mostly birds, were being
      treated Thursday at a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Calhoun County's
      Marshall Township, where the leak occurred, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
      Service said. The centre refused to admit an Associated Press reporter.
      An agency spokeswoman said officials didn't want to further traumatize
      the animals by allowing in more people and the centre wasn't prepared
      for a media tour. One was planned for Friday.

      According to the Jan. 21 warning, Enbridge was
      implementing an alternate way of monitoring corrosion in the pipeline,
      and had detailed to regulators the steps it was taking to track
      corrosion in the interim.

      But the agency warned the company in the letter that it
      was violating code by not using a sufficient amount of certain chemicals
      used to protect pipe interiors, not using proper monitoring equipment to
      determine if those chemicals were working, and not examining its
      monitoring equipment at least twice a year.

      "The transition from one technology to another must be
      implemented in a manner that ensures continued compliance with the
      regulations," the agency wrote.

      Two years ago, Enbridge was cited for committing eight
      probable violations that may have contributed to an explosion that
      killed two people working Nov. 28, 2007, on a pipeline near Clearbrook,
      Minn. Among its findings, the regulatory agency found Enbridge failed to
      follow written procedures for couplings on the pipeline, didn't make the
      repairs in a safe manner and didn't make sure workers had adequate
      training for that job.

      Jeff Share, editor of the Pipeline & Gas Journal, said
      violations like those Enbridge was cited for aren't uncommon for
      pipeline companies.

      "It is purely a pipeline company. If they're not
      operated safely, they don't make any money," Share said. "It pays for
      them from a business and social perspective that their pipelines operate
      as efficiently and safely as possible."

      An Enbridge affiliate, Houston-based Enbridge Energy
      Co., spilled almost 72,000 litres of crude oil onto Wisconsin's Nemadji
      River in 2003. Another 715,000 litres of oil spilled at the company's
      terminal three kilometres from Lake Superior, though most was contained.

      In 2007, two spills released about 760,000 litres of
      crude in northern Wisconsin as Enbridge was expanding a 500-kilometre
      pipeline. The company also was accused of violating Wisconsin permits
      designed to protect water quality during work in and around wetlands,
      rivers and streams, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said.
      The violations came during construction of a 500-kilometre, $2-billion
      oil pipeline across that state. Enbridge agreed to pay $1.1 million in

      The Michigan leak came from a pipeline that was built in
      1969 and carries about 30 million litres of oil daily from Griffith,
      Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

      Bruce Bullock, director of Maguire Energy Institute at
      Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business, said Enbridge is
      similar to many other pipeline companies. Noting the age of Michigan's
      pipeline, Bullock said that like the rest of the industry, Calgary,
      Alberta-based Enbridge is dealing with aging infrastructure.

      "They don't have a reputation of being particularly a
      star player in terms of their profile or anything like that, but they
      certainly have a good reputation in terms of delivering for their
      shareholders," Bullock said. "They certainly don't have a bad

      But Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife
      Federation's Great Lakes office, said Enbridge has a history of spills -
      including two major leaks in the past year. He said those leaks, coupled
      with the fatal blast in Minnesota, are problematic.

      "This is a company whose safety record is very
      definitely suspect and cause for concern," Buchsbaum said.


      Runk reported from Detroit. Associated Press writers
      Corey Williams and Mike Householder in Detroit contributed to this


      "When the whole world is against you, paranoia is just
      good sense"
      Johnny Fever


      Duncan White

      Box 448, Queen Charlotte, BC V0T 1S0

      250-559-4208 (ph/fax)

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