Enbridge pipelines leak regularly, say critics
By Beacon News staff
Enbridge has another pipeline spill to clean up, this one near Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, and critics say the leak is more evidence the Calgary-based company’s promises for new pipelines can’t be trusted.
About 1,200 barrels (190,000 litres) were released Friday afternoon from Line 14. The pipeline was delivering Canadian crude to refineries in the Chicago area.
At 2:45 p.m. CDT the Enbridge Pipelines Control Center detected a pressure drop, according to the company. Control Center operators shut down and immediately isolated the line. Emergency crews were promptly deployed to the site.
Enbridge says the oil has been contained on the west side of County Road G in a field, mostly on the pipeline right-of-way.
“Enbridge is treating this situation as a top priority,” said Richard Adams, vice president, U.S. Operations, Enbridge. “We are bringing all necessary resources to bear. Our immediate focus is on keeping our workers and the public safe as we work to remove the oil and clean up the site.”
Enbridge has notified and is working with emergency officials and the appropriate regulators. The cause of the release has not been determined and is being investigated.
Greenpeace spokesperson Mike Hudema says Enbridge has recorded a spill a week for the past decade.
“Enbridge spill record tells us exactly what is in store for communities throughout BC and the reason we need to say no to tar sands pipelines,” he said.
“After all of Enbridges talk of pipeline improvement we have another tragic reminder of just how safe Enbridge’s leaky pipeline infrastructure really is.”
Enbridge has been at the centre of a public controversy (read related Beacon News stories here and here and here) over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would stretch almost 1,200 kilometres from Bruderheim, Alta. to Kitimat, BC and carry Alberta oil sands bitumen destined for Asian markets.
Northern Gateway opponents say the pipeline is too risky because of the sensitive ecosystem it would have to cross and the difficulty involved in cleaning up spills in remote mountainous regions.
Enbridge recently pledged an additional $500 million to the $5.5 billion project to make Northern Gateway safer.
Line 14 is a 24-inch, pipeline with capacity of 317,600 barrels per day, installed in 1998. It mostly transports light crude oil to Chicago-area refineries. It is part of Enbridge Energy Partnership’s Lakehead System and owned by Enbridge Energy,Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of the Partnership.