Pipeline safety advocates enjoying beignets and coffee in New Orleans during the Pipeline Safety Trust conference.
Whew! Sorry for our little hiatus these past few weeks. We’ve had more than a few matters (mainly professional ones) that have required our attention. And then last week was the 2014 Pipeline Safety Trust conference— which was a great experience, as always. Rest assured that we have not abandoned you.
The trouble now, however, is that we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, for some of it we’re going to get a little help from our friends. Among the things we’ll be bringing you over the next week or so:
- The latest on ET Rover— now just the “Rover Pipeline,” according to Energy Transfer– along with information and commentary about the first of the FERC scoping meetings.
- A run-down of some of our experiences at the PS Trust conference– as always, we learned a great deal– including our account of the genuine face time and conversation we had with you-won’t-believe-who; seriously, we have photographic evidence and everything!
- The latest entry in our ongoing “Landowner Stories” series, one that expands the series well beyond Line 6B. It turns out, landowners in Michigan aren’t the only ones Enbridge treats poorly. We’re taking the series south.
- Lastly, we’re going to embark upon our first-ever crowdsourcing project. We’ll need your help on this one! It’s a little something we cooked up with our awesome friend Lynda Farrell, Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Coalition in Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for that one!
A couple of weeks ago, you may recall that Enbridge announced, rather triumphantly, that they’re done with Phase Two (the final phase) of the Line 6B replacement. At the time, we pointed out that while they may be finished with the only part of the project that really matters to them– getting oil flowing through the pipe– the project is far from finished as far as landowners are concerned. In fact, a great many landowners on Phase One are STILL waiting for restoration to be completed. And they’ve been waiting a very long time.
The fact is, if Enbridge cared even half as much about the lives and properties of landowners as they do about their profits, they would have treated landowner concerns from the start with the same sense of urgency with which they treated their pipeline installation. But restoration and “making landowners whole” has always been, at best, an afterthought.
This morning, we’re pleased to say that someone is finally paying attention to this sad fact. The always-excellent Rebecca Williams at Michigan Radio’s Environment Report has the story.
Corporate executives say the darnedest things! This week, Enbridge CEO Al Monaco got to have a little sit-down to talk with the Duluth News Tribune–reminding us of the time Enbridge President Steve Wuori got to have a sit down with the Ed. Board at the Lansing State Journal— and causing us to wonder anew why these executives get a special audience with these papers. Why doesn’t the Duluth News Tribune invite, say, Richard Smith from the Friends of the Headwaters in for some of that friendly shoulder-rubbing? In the interview, Monaco says some pretty hilarious things (the paper calls them “insights”), none more hilarious than his comments about environmentalists:
Misperception we’re “fighting environmentalists”
“I think maybe there’s a perception that we’re fighting environmentalists. My approach to this has always been, ‘Let us work with you. Let us figure out how we can improve the project.’ So if there are some ideas — whether (from) a community member, whether it’s a government agency, or whether it’s an environmentalist — we’d like to hear those ideas, and if it makes the project better we’ll look at it. I’m trying to make a point here that it’s not necessarily them and us. It’s what’s best for the project (and) what’s best for the communities so we protect the environment. That’s what our goal is.
“We do sit down with environmental groups, and our approach is to try and engage them, to try and understand their point of view, and hopefully they can try and understand our point of view. … Our first focus is to do what’s best for the environment and to make sure were operating safely.”
Obviously, we have no way of knowing whether Monaco actually believes this, is making some sort of joke, or just thinks it’s good p.r. to say such absurd things, knowing that the newspaper Ed. Board will just dutifully type it up and print it in their paper. What we do know, however, is that Monaco’s comments are funny enough to earn him a regular gig on one of the late night talk shows, or maybe his own HBO special.
Unfortunately, reality is slightly less amusing. Let’s just recall a quick example of how Enbridge really deals with each of these groups: environmentalists, “community member[s],” and “government agencies”:
Here is Monaco’s predecessor Patrick Daniel explaining how environmentalists are “revolutionaries” out to upend society as we know it.
Here is Enbride spokesperson Graham White making up a demonstrably false and disparaging story about a concerned community member (and a follow-up).
And here is Enbridge Vice President Richard Adams looking a major government agency– the EPA– straight in the eye and telling them something other than the truth.
It seems to us that the only groups Enbridge really cares to “sit down” with to share their point of view are friendly, credulous newspaper editorial pages willing to grant them “exclusive” interviews.