21 Aug





Six years after Enbridge Oil caused the worst inland oil spill in US history on the Kalamazoo River, a proposed settlement between the US government and the massive Canadian company is a slap on the wrist and would allow expansion of a separate pipeline. Photo of Enbridge oil spill on Kalamazoo River by Lighthawk for Sierra Club. 

Even worse, the proposed federal consent decree would allow Enbridge to replace and expand its Line 3 pipeline running through Minnesota and Wisconsin, even though the cleanup had nothing to do with this line. The federal consent decree proposed between Enbridge and the Department of Justice and US Environmental Protection Agency has been filed in US District Court and public comment is being taken until August 28.

Please add your name to those objecting to the proposal to let Enbridge off easy and give them a gift by allowing expansion of another pipeline.

But the settlement also disclosed a troubling fact about Enbridge Line 5, which crosses the Straits of Mackinac as it runs from Superior, WI, to Sarnia, ONT. Enbridge is required under its easement from the State of Michigan to ensure that the two Line 5 pipelines are properly supported and anchored in the treacherous waters of the Straits, considered among the worst places in the  that an oil  spill might occur.  In June, Enbridge’s inspection of the line revealed they were in violation of this requirement because four supports for the pipelines were missing.  While the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has issued a notice of violation to Enbridge for the missing supports, they are also considering a permit application from Enbridge to replace the supports, and add 15 more to the pipelines.

The Oil and Water Don’t Mix coalition, including Sierra Club, has urged Attorney General Bill Schuette and Governor Rick Snyder for at least three years to enforce provisions of the easement agreement, including the state’s obligations to protect the public trust, as well as pointing out and documenting the huge threat posed by these 63 year old pipelines. While installing the needed supports for Line 5 in the Straits is essential, Michigan Chapter Chair David Holtz points out the newest revelations that Enbridge has been in violation of its obligations adds to the importance of stopping oil flowing through the Line 5 Straits of Mackinac pipelines.

“Scientists have shown that a crude oil spill from Enbridge’s pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac would be an unparalleled disaster for Michigan even under the best of conditions,” said Holtz. “With the revelation of these newest violations by Enbridge and the storms and ice of late fall and winter not far away, it is time for our Governor and Attorney General to stop the flow of crude oil through Line 5.”

Look for more details on Enbridge Line 5 permit application and action you can take soon.

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