In the wake of the two year anniversary of the Kalamazoo River tar sands pipeline disaster and the bruising reports from regulators that followed, you would think that pipeline companies—especially Enbridge, which was responsible for dumping a million gallons of sludgy diluted bitumen into the river which has resulted in the longest and costliest cleanup of its kind in American history—would be watching for other potential safety lapses like hawks…
…but the recent spill in Wisconsin, which now has even anemic American pipeline regulators talking tough, implies otherwise:
“[T]he July 2010 failure on Line 6B in Marshall, Michigan, and additional failures throughout all parts of the Lakehead System indicate that Respondent’s [Enbridge’s] integrity management program may be inadequate,” Wiese said in the order. “PHMSA has communicated its longstanding concerns about this pattern of failures with Respondent over the past several years. Given the nature, circumstances, and gravity of this pattern of accidents, additional corrective measures are warranted.”
Enbridge’s response is what you’d expect, something along the lines of we’ve learned our lessons and have things under control.
But you can look at an incident being reported in Canada to get an even better sense of the company’s sloppiness closer to home in complaints about a pipeline in a Canadian soon-to-be-national park that has been exposed since 2009 points to more of the same from the pipeline company. Oops. Just look at the video from CBC below…does that pipeline, with small concrete blocks partially covering the portion exposed in the midst of the Rouge River (which empties into the Great Lakes), look safe? Reasonable? Professional?
“No,” to all of the above from me.
If you are trying to convince folks that the company American regulators referred to as “Keystone Kops” with a “culture of deviance” is on the up and up; this is no way to do it… Folks in Canada are watching and coming to understandable conclusions. While not all of these incidents are tar sands related, I hope folks in Michigan, Ohio and New England (not to mention everyone staring down the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway export pipeline megaprojects), where tar sands infrastructure expansion efforts are underway are also watching closely.