Last week, we noted a curious situation with regard to some seemingly conflicting remarks from Lake County, Indiana officials and Enbridge spokespersons about pipeline wall thicknesses in Lake County. The questions that remain ambiguous are: (1) whether Enbridge is increasing wall thicknesses as a result of discussions with local officials (something they rejected as absurd up here in Michigan) and (2) what, precisely, that thickness will be.

The comments of Enbridge spokesperson Jennifer Smith in a new article in the Times of Northwest Indiana only further deepen the mystery:  

Jennifer Smith, Enbridge spokeswoman, said the new pipeline will have thicker walls than the existing line, increasing from .25 inches to .625 inches. The pipe also will be X-ray monitored, Smith said.

Now, it gives us no real joy to continue picking on Jennifer Smith. In fact, we’d like to pause for a moment to note that we are very careful here at the Line 6B Citizens’ Blog never to get personal– we haven’t yet and we won’t. Our concern is strictly with matters of professional conduct. So when people who profess to abide by a set of core values that include “maintain[ing] truth in all interactions” and “tak[ing] the time to understand the perspective of others” fail to live up to those values, it seems perfectly fair for us to point that out. When those same people, for example, are clearly ducking and avoiding us– as has been the case with Jennifer Smith and Doug Aller— we’re going to point that out also.

What’s more, one of the things we said recently to Enbridge VP Mark Sitek is that it has long seemed to us that Enbridge’s PR people have been doing more harm than good. It’s not just that they repeatedly say things that turn out not to be true or that are evasive. It’s also that they actually seem not to know very much (except for slogans and talking points). This is why, for instance, Project Manager Thomas Hodge was such a breath of fresh air at the Brandon Township “workshop.”

(Interestingly, when we told Sitek about our impression of Enbridge spokespersons, using the example of their offensive (to us) repetition of the “special interest groups” talking point, Sitek tried to explain this away as merely a case of poorly chosen words. To which we replied that we are talking here about people who are specifically paid to use words effectively; it is their job NOT to choose words poorly.)

But the point of this digression is that we have here yet another example of Enbridge spokesperson ineptness– and on a very important substantive matter. Not only does Jennifer Smith not know what the wall thickness of the pipe in Lake County will be (is it .5 inch or .625 inch?). She also seems unable to just find out and provide a clear, unambiguous answer. I mean, how hard would it be just to call Tom Hodge and ask him?

On a slightly more positive note: we are very pleased to see how vocal and involved so many Indiana residents are this early in the process.