Exceeding regulations: context

Dec 1, 2012 by

As we mentioned this past week, we finally received a response from Enbridge regarding their claim that certain features of the new pipe exceed federal regulations. We are very grateful to Enbridge’s Terri Larson for getting us a reasonably thorough answer. Terri strikes us as genuine and reliable. But federal regulations are a complicated affair, which makes scrutinizing Enbridge’s claim fairly tricky. We’re working on it. In the meantime, we thought we’d link to this excellent and very important article at ProPublica by way of providing some context for the discussion that’s to come. Plus, you get to read the remarks of one of our heroes: Carl Weimer, the Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. You don’t want to miss Carl saying this: Given the limitations of government money and personnel, it is...

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“Construction Update” newsletter

Nov 19, 2012 by

We’re back from a nice weekend break from Enbridge-related matters. Hopefully, you also enjoyed some of the nice autumn weather. We’ve got more reports on the PS Trust conference coming— most notably, an account of the terrific environmental panel with Beth Wallace, Anthony Swift, and Gabe Scott. Stay tuned for that. We also have another Enbridge newspaper ad to respond to as well. In the meantime, we’re perusing the colorful, glossy newsletter from Enbridge that we received in the mail recently. Presumably, many of you received it also. As far as Enbridge communications go, it’s not half-bad (which isn’t saying much), although we can’t help but wonder where this devotion to communicating with the public was back when Phase 1 of the project kicked off. We didn’t receive any glossy newsletters back in February...

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Last week’s Freep ad (updated!)

Nov 10, 2012 by

Now that we’ve returned from the Pipeline Safety Trust conference– we’ve already launched our new series of reports on it!– we hope to try and catch up on some overdue posts. First up is the most recent ad Enbridge ran in the Detroit Free Press (and elsewhere, we believe). You might recall that we found it rather difficult to procure a copy of this ad (though we finally decided to reject the notion that there was a conspiracy afoot to prevent us from seeing it). We still have not gotten our hands on it. Fortunately, our wonderful reader Linda supplied us with a description and some copy. [SEE UPDATE BELOW.] But first, a small item of note. In our first report on the PS Trust conference, we mentioned that there was one exception to...

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More on the pipeline wall thickness matter in Indiana

Oct 29, 2012 by

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....

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Wall thickness curiosity in Indiana

Oct 28, 2012 by

This one is a bit of a head scratcher and we’d like to get to the bottom of it: The Gary, Indiana Post-Tribune reported this week that, apparently, Enbridge has agreed to increase the thickness of the pipe throughout [Lake County, Indiana] instead of just at the drains it must run under, according to Surveyor George Van Til. “We are very pleased about that,” Van Til said.   This way of putting it makes it appear that Enbridge has voluntarily agreed to alter its design in response to the concerns of local officials. If that’s true, this would be extraordinary and, in our view, very big news– especially since Enbridge has refused to make any such adjustments here in Michigan. In fact, they always insist, as VP Mark Sitek did to me just this...

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EPA to Enbridge: you’re not done yet

Oct 3, 2012 by

A staffer from Michigan state Senator David Robertson’s office once tried to dismiss my concerns about Enbridge by insisting that the Kalamazoo River was cleaner now than it was before the spill. We’ve heard the same thing from others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, however, thinks that Enbridge still has cleanup work to do: this just...

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What’s Enbridge doing in Capac?

Sep 26, 2012 by

We just came across a very interesting little story in the small Tri-City Times newspaper, covering the eastern part of the state (the area around Imlay City, Almont, Capac and Dryden). Some sort of Enbridge pipeline construction activity or preparation appears to be taking place in Capac. That’s very near portions of the Line 6B pipeline that Enbridge plans to replace in phase two of their project– the phase for which they do not yet have MPSC approval. Therefore, it’s not clear what’s going on over there– and evidently Enbridge isn’t saying. We’re...

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Reactivation? Let’s talk about Portal Link

Sep 17, 2012 by

Last week, we posted our account of the “workshop” meeting between Enbridge representatives and the Brandon Township Board of Trustees. Much of what we touched upon in the post deserves further scrutiny and elaboration and we hope to devote more time and space to those things in the coming days– starting right now. But first, let me just reiterate what may be the most important fact we took away from that meeting: With its Northern Gateway project in Canada, Enbridge has solicited local input prior to construction and they have responded to public concern by, among other things, pledging to exceed Canadian federal regulatory safety and design standards. With its Line 6B project in Michigan– the home of Marshall!– Enbridge has not done the same.   Now back to our main topic: among the...

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