For anyone who follows energy issues, the Enbridge name has become synonymous with Marshall, Michigan and Kalamazoo. It was in that remote US community where an Enbridge pipeline – identical in construction to Line 9 – ruptured and went undetected for over 17 hours, spilling anywhere from 877,000 to 1,000,000 US Gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River
The US National Transportation Safety Board published a report on July 10, 2012 citing numerous deficiencies in Enbridge’s integrity management procedures, inadequate training of control center personnel, and insufficient public awareness and education as contributing factors to the disaster.
On March 14th, 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency ordered Enbridge back to Marshall Michigan to dredge submerged oil which in the company’s opinion, was better left in the river to naturally biodegrade. Enbridge even requested that the EPA prove by forensic identification that the oil in the river was in fact from the 6B spill and not from other contamination source points along the Kalamazoo. Testing results concluded that the submerged oil was in fact from the Enbridge rupture.
Enbridge professes that they have cleaned up their act and are a much more responsible company these days. They’ve even refreshed the look of the Edmonton control center – responsible for remotely monitoring daily pipeline activities and concerns – in order to make it a more enjoyable work environment for employees. What they have failed to do is reassure the public that they have a robust emergency response plan. The emergency response document submitted during the Line 9A hearing had an incredible amount of information blanked out due to “security issues”.
Is this a company we trust with an aging pipeline in our back yards?