When Did the Marshall Spill Happen?

Jul 29, 2014 by

A History Lesson for Brad Shamla Looks like Enbridge needs another history lesson. To mark last week’s anniversary of the Marshall spill, Enbridge VP Brad Shamla penned an editorial that was published in the Battle Creek Enquirer and the Detroit News. A version of the op-ed also appeared as a “letter” (that is, a paid advertisement) in the Detroit Free Press (and probably elsewhere, we’re not sure). It’s a fine-sounding letter, carefully crafted, we’re sure, by a whole committee of people in the vast Enbridge public relations department. The trouble is, it’s also disingenuous, starting with its very first sentence. See if you can spot the problem: July 26, 2010, is a day that no one at Enbridge will ever forget. Yep, that’s right: in an article whose central point is memory and commemoration, the importance...

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The Anniversary to Not Celebrate

Jul 25, 2014 by

As most readers of this blog know, today marks a terrible day. On July 25, 2010, Enbridge’s Line 6B ruptured, spilling over a million gallons of tar sands oil into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. The spill was not an “accident”; it was the result of neglect, mistakes, poor choices, negligence by Enbridge employees, and a “culture of deviance” from safety protocols at the company as a whole. There’s nothing to celebrate about this day. A better way to mark this occasion is to re-visit and re-read the NTSB report on that spill. It is a parade of horrors. Or, if that’s too much for you to take, you can get a taste of it by looking back at the three part series we did on that report a couple of...

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“Life Amongst the Tar Sands” (Video)

Apr 14, 2014 by

As some of you know, we were fortunate enough to participate in a forum about tar sands oil development in the Great Lakes Region a couple of weeks ago. Organized by our friend, fellow Line 6B landowner, and Notre Dame University professor Patricia Maurice and hosted by the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values. Patricia and I were joined by MSU’s Steve Hamilton, who has been a consultant on the Kalamazoo River cleanup, and Beth Wallace, who you surely know by now. Each of us presented for 15 or so minutes and then we took questions from a wonderful and wonderfully-engaged audience. We thought the event was a smashing success. The room was full and the audience interested, each of my fellow panelists was smart, passionate, and informative. We were even...

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Corporate Social Responsibility

Jan 2, 2014 by

While you’re all probably on pins and needles waiting to learn what made the #1 spot on our 2013 Year in Review Top Ten List, we’re prolonging the suspense to weigh in on another topic. You see, Enbridge has done its own review (though they’re a year behind) and just released its 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. So that you don’t have to– and trust us, you don’t want to– we’ve taken a look through it. Mostly, it’s a lot of foggy, unspecified claptrap and self-flattering puffery delivered in barely comprehensible corporate-marketing jargon, full of sentences like this: “Enbridge manages the impacts of our operations on communities through three areas of enterprise-wide activity that have complementary programs and practices.” That sort of thing goes on for 205 pages. Just how bad is it? Well,...

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(Maddening) news roundup

Jul 26, 2013 by

Yesterday, the three year anniversary of the spill in Marshall brought with it, as we pointed out, some excellent reports by some of our favorite reporters and writers– Dave Hasemyer, Lindsey Smith, Jacob Wheeler, and Josh Mogerman, to name a few. By contrast, today, the day after the anniversary, has brought us some reports that are to, a greater or lesser extent. just plain maddening. Take, for instance, the anniversary story released today by UPI, the people, you might recall, who think Beth Wallace is a “global warming advocate.” Unlike the group we mentioned above, the UPI typist couldn’t be bothered to do anything at all except quote back the hollow phrases served up to them by Jason Manshum. In fact, that’s the story’s lead: There’s always a chance of failure when dealing with...

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(Not so) Happy Anniversary!

Jul 25, 2013 by

In case you haven’t heard, this week marks one full year of existence for the Line 6B Citizens’ Blog. This has put us in a reflective mood. And to celebrate, after thanking some of the marvelous friends we’ve made in the past year, we’ve planned to re-visit what we think (a little self-indulgently; we hope we’ll be forgiven!) some of our greatest hits– which is really just a way of pointing out what we think are some of the more revealing episodes in the life of the Line 6B replacement project. But we’re on vacation this week and, to be honest, golf has sort of taken precedent over reviewing. Which just means that we’ll be dragging this anniversary out a bit longer than we thought we would. But today marks another, far more important...

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“You wouldn’t know there was a spill…”...

May 29, 2013 by

Early last week, we kicked off our latest series— on our experience with IJNR Kalamazoo River Institute— by ruminating on the strange current state of Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. Yes, both are lovely and seemingly very clean. Objectively speaking, it’s hard to say that Enbridge did not clean them up well (you can do a lot with a billion dollars)– although there’s much more to be done (so says the EPA). Of course, in our view, the cleanup effort is not really cause for any great celebration or any reason to go heaping praise on Enbridge. After all, if you break something that doesn’t belong to you, you should be obligated to fix it– and not congratulated for doing so. But as we said in that previous post, what was most striking...

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About that petcoke

May 21, 2013 by

This morning, we’re a little irritated. Remember that story about those disturbing piles of petroleum coke, a byproduct of the dilbit refining process, that we reported on a couple of months ago? Well, the New York Times ran a piece by reporter Ian Austen on the story just this week– and it’s getting a lot of play. It’s all over the web and social media. And of course, we think this is a very good thing. In fact, the more attention this gets the better. The last thing we want is to have that gunk spilling into the Detroit River. And a national discussion about the costs of using this filthy byproduct– what one expert in the article calls “the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth”– is long overdue. So, three cheers...

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