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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“A meaningful discussion starts with the facts”

Aug 18, 2014 by

If you’ve been paying attention to Enbridge in the news, you might have heard about the protests up in Canada a couple weeks ago, where some concerned activists put up a blockade halting work on Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal project. In response to that action, Enbridge generated a shockingly disingenuous blog post under the headline– we’re not making this up– “Pipelines and protests: A meaningful discussion starts with the facts.” In it, Enbridge presents six “facts” about Line 9, as if to present themselves as the truth-tellers in contrast to those dishonest, un-factual protestors. We’re not going to spend time here pointing out just how very arguable most of their six so-called “facts” really are. (Like the claim that “Line 9 has an excellent safety record,” which surely depends upon how one defines “excellent.”) Instead, we just need...

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“They just haven’t been very forthcoming with us”

Feb 23, 2014 by

On more than one occasion over the past couple of years, Enbridge officials have told us that the Line 6B situation in Michigan is anomalous– presumably meaning that the contention, the poor communication, the acrimony, and the miscues (on their part) are out of the ordinary. Elsewhere and in the past, they would have us believe, Enbridge does not and has not conducted itself the way it has conducted itself here. Unfortunately, too much evidence suggests otherwise. The latest glaring example of this has to do with Line 9 in Canada. Line 9, you will recall, runs across Ontario to Sarnia (where Line 6B terminates). Enbridge is currently seeking to reverse the flow of that pipeline, raising serious concerns on the part of residents all along that route. Just this week, a Canadian television...

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2013 Year in Review

Dec 30, 2013 by

Happy Holidays everyone! We hope you’ve all enjoyed some time with friends and family and traveled safely (if you traveled) over the past week or so. And we especially hope that those of you in Michigan who had to suffer through the untimely power-outages found a way to keep warm. Miraculously, we were unaffected, although most of our neighbors had to wait until Christmas day for power to be restored. On the bright side, at least the ice storm wasn’t an inconvenience caused by Enbridge… Speaking of Enbridge, we don’t know about you, but we haven’t received any holiday gifts this year (last year it was yummy cherry-related things). Evidently, they think they’re through with us, which of course is not at all the case, given the quality and timing of so-called “restoration” work...

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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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“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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Our conversation with an Enbridge VP, Part 4

Nov 5, 2012 by

Among other things, we’re working this week on our upcoming presentation at the Pipeline Safety Trust conference, where we’re eager for the chance to talk with other landowners, regulators, and industry personnel. We’re looking forward to listening and learning. Perhaps we’ll even get a chance to meet and speak face to face with some Enbridge folks! Of course, we’ve already spoken at some length with Enbridge Vice President Mark Sitek and we’re looking forward to a follow-up conversation or two. As regular readers know, we’ve been using that initial conversation as an opportunity to diagnose Enbridge, to try and articulate some of the underlying conditions that plague them and cause them to alienate stakeholders. We’ll likely talk about some of this in our presentation at the conference this week. Just this morning, we were...

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Our Conversation with an Enbridge VP, Part 3

Nov 1, 2012 by

Lately, we’ve been thinking our way through the conversation we had a week ago Wednesday with Enbridge Vice President Mark Sitek. Rather than providing a transcript from memory of that conversation, we’ve touched upon some of its highlights to try and understand– even to diagnose– the malady that plagues Enbridge (in our view). So far, we’ve discussed Enbridge’s insularity and the difficulty they seem to have looking at matters from the point of view of others– obviously, those two things are related. In our third installment, we will consider another related trait: the trouble Enbridge seems to have taking accountability for its actions. Part 3: Taking Accountability   Before we begin this discussion, we’d like to provide a brief point of information. Some readers– particularly Enbridge readers (assuming we have any) might think that...

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