Enbridge in action or inaction
- 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
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
(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
"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
Box 448, Queen Charlotte, BC V0T 1S0
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]