Enbridge Now Owns Wisconsin

Jul 6, 2015 by

In addition to a vast network of oil and gas pipelines in the Great Lakes region, Enbridge owns and operates several state legislatures. Wisconsin is its latest...

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About that Pipeline Secrecy Bill…

Jul 1, 2015 by

We hope everyone is enjoying the summer. We certainly are, which is why we’ve been (more than) a little neglectful of the blog of late. We hope you’ll forgive us! Readers of this blog are probably aware of a certain anniversary that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. We’ll be remembering also. If you’re in the area, you should try to make the event. And while you’re pondering that dark part of Michigan’s history, you might take a moment to think about how we can prevent such a thing from happening ever again. That’s a heavy task, but we can tell you one thing that won’t help: less transparency from pipeline companies. We’re reminded of this because of a baffling recent post from our friends up at the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner...

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Stop the Enbridge-Rover Secrecy Law

May 9, 2015 by

Imagine a law that says that Enbridge or ET Rover is not required to disclose to you basic facts or details about the pipeline that runs through your backyard. Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? And yet, that is exactly the law that the Michigan legislature is trying to pass. According to House Bill 4540, basic information “about the production, generation, transportation, transmission, or distribution of fuel or energy” would be exempt from Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. That means, potentially, that the pipeline company that has access to your property — a company like Enbridge or Vector or Rover– would not have to tell you what materials are getting pumped through the pipeline on your property, where that product is going, or what plans the company has in the event that the pipeline ruptures on your property. In fact,...

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Another Politician Betrays Michigan

May 7, 2015 by

What is it with Michigan elected officials? At a moment in time when almost everybody in the U.S. and Canada recognizes the need for heightened scrutiny of pipeline operators– especially given the failures of our federal regulators— Michigan Representative Kurt Heise of Plymouth has introduced legislation designed to allow pipeline operators to escape even more scrutiny. Keith Matheny of the Free Press has the story. It’s as if Kurt Heise has never even heard of the Marshall spill. Either that or he’s just a gutless shill for the oil and gas companies. Reminds us of some others. If Heise is in your district, please contact him and express your extreme displeasure at his willingness to do the bidding of the company responsible for the most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history– not to mention his shameful...

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Rover Suing Landowners

Apr 13, 2015 by

We knew it would come to this. MLive is reporting today that Rover is suing landowners in Washtenaw over their right to survey. This is a matter we discussed in some detail months ago. Rover’s actions here are bad enough: they continue to fail to cultivate good relations with landowners in Michigan. Just as bad, however, is Michigan attorney John DeVries, who seems to want to pretend that there is something unusual here, that landowners who are refusing to grant permission are extremists and outliers: DeVries said the cases are a rarity in his career of about 40 years working on about 20 pipeline projects. “This is the first time, on one pipeline project of many that I’ve worked on, where surveyor permission had been denied,” DeVries said. Frankly, we’re not buying it. Either that...

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Why Do Pipelines Keep Leaking?

Mar 24, 2015 by

Fresh off a visit to Washington, D.C. and a visit to PHMSA, we’ve got an op-ed this week over at Vice News in which we wonder why pipelines just keep failing: It has been five years since the Marshall disaster in Michigan — and also five years since the terrible San Bruno, California pipeline explosion that killed eight people — but federal regulators have done almost nothing to improve the safety of the nation’s existing pipelines. Partly in response to these incidents and others like them, in 2011 Congress passed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act. Yet in the intervening time, the agency charged with implementing that bill’s provisions, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA), has failed to finalize and institute any new major regulations. You can read the full piece here....

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No Rover-Vector Expansions (for now)

Feb 4, 2015 by

If you’ve been following the news this week, you’ve surely heard that ET Rover has altered its plans significantly. They’ve entered into an agreement with Vector Pipelines (a joint operation owned by Enbridge and DTE) to use existing infrastructure through much of Michigan, eliminating the need to build new pipe through a number of counties. The new plan still calls for roughly 100 miles of new pipeline construction through Lenawee, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties, where that new pipe will meet up with the existing Vector line. Yesterday, in the face of this (seemingly) good news, we expressed our concern about previously announced plans by Vector to expand capacity by building “loop” line adjacent to the existing one. But two reporters, the excellent Keith Matheny at the Free Press and the equally excellent Beth LeBlanc...

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Rover-Vector: Not So Fast!

Feb 3, 2015 by

Don’t uncork the champagne just yet. By now, you’ve probably heard the news that ET Rover’s plans have dramatically changed. The Free Press, the Clarkston News, and MLive have more on the story. Rover has struck a deal with Vector Pipelines which will eliminate the need to build about 110 miles of pipe in some of the northern counties along the original route. But they still want to build about 100 miles through Michigan’s Lenawee, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties. That’s still a very serious concern. And the news might be even worse. Another news outlet that follows the natural gas industry reports this morning that Vector is preparing for this expanded capacity. Here’s the sentence that has us worried: With enough binding support, Vector could add a 42-inch diameter loop and additional compression, pending contract renewals...

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