Tag Archives: Kalamazoo

Enbridge gets final OK to build massive pipeline across Michigan

The Michigan Public Service Commission has given Enbridge Energy the final OK to build the company’s massive oil pipeline across Michigan.

The commission’s order, which was issued on January 31, 2013 and is the last of three approvals the company had sought, and includes sections in Oakland, Macomb, Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Jackson, Ingham and St. Clair counties. The order allows the company to complete 110 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline and 50 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline.

“In approving the company’s application, the MPSC said the pipeline will serve a public need, is designed and routed in a reasonable manner, and meets or exceeds current safety and engineering standards. Within 60 days after completion of the construction of the project, the company will submit ‘as built’ maps to the Commission,” the commission said in a news release.

“This is the last proceeding Enbridge filed here at the commission related to line 6B,” according to Judy Palnau, a spokeswoman for the public service commission.

The company filed three applications with the MPSC for completion of different sections of the line that goes from Griffith, Ind., to Marysville, where the pipeline crosses into Ontario. The other applications were approved in 2011 and 2012.

SOURCE: http://www.freep.com/article/20130131/NEWS06/130131066/Enbridge-gets-final-OK-build-massive-pipeline-across-Michigan

NTSB blame multiple corrosion cracks & ‘weak’ regulations – Kalamazoo Oil Spill

The National Transportation Safety Board blamed multiple corrosion cracks and “pervasive organizational failures” at the Calgary-based Enbridge pipeline company for a more-than-20,000-barrel oil spill two years ago near Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

The cost of the spill has reached $800 million and is rising, the NTSB said, making the pipeline rupture the most expensive on-shore oil spill in U.S. history. The pipeline’s contents — heavy crude oil from Canada’s oil sands — have made the spill a closely watched case with implications for other pipelines carrying such crude.

The NTSB also blamed “weak federal regulations” by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for the accident, which spilled at least 843,444 gallons of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo in Marshall, Mich. The oil spread into a 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo and a nearby wetlands area.

“This accident is a wake-up call to the industry, the regulator, and the public,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement.  She added that “for the regulator to delegate too much authority to the regulated to assess their own system risks and correct them is tantamount to the fox guarding the hen house.”

The spill began about 5:58 p.m. on July 25, 2010, when a 30-inch diameter pipeline ruptured. Twice, Enbridge workers tried to restart the pipeline after alarms about abnormal pressure in the line and 81 percent of the oil spilled over 17 hours after those alarms, the NTSB said.

“We believe that the experienced personnel involved in the decisions made at the time of the release were trying to do the right thing,” Enbridge’s chief executive, Patrick D. Daniel, said.“As with most such incidents, a series of unfortunate events and circumstances resulted in an outcome no one wanted.”

The case is being scrutinized by industry and environmental groups because it could threaten plans to build new pipelines to carry crude from Canada’s oil sands, or tar sands, into the United States. TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline is one of the plans awaiting approval.

The NTSB, part of the Transportation Department, said the Enbridge pipeline break “was the result of multiple small corrosion-fatigue cracks that over time grew in size and linked together, creating a gaping breach in the pipe measuring over 80 inches long.”

SOURCE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/ntsb-blames-enbridge-weak-regulations-in-kalamazoo-oil-spill/2012/07/10/gJQAWzqgbW_story.html

Report about cause of 2010 Mich. oil spill delayed

The release of a federal report detailing the cause of a 2010 pipeline rupture that spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil in southern Michigan has been delayed.

The report is expected to be released this fall, about six months later than expected, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/zkCAau). The National Transportation Safety Board attributed the delay to other investigations into separate pipeline incidents.

“Our investigations look at numerous aspects that could have played a role in the accident, such as maintenance, human factors, pipeline operations, and materials,” said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

“We’ll also look at the emergency response and environmental remediation efforts to assess how they were handled.”

The report about the July 2010 spill from Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline also is expected to offer future safety recommendations for the pipeline industry.

Enbridge said it will be able to finish its internal investigation after the report is released. Company spokesman Jason Manshum said the company is working to take what it’s learned from the spill and share that knowledge.

“We’re focused on applying these lessons in our operations in all locations where we operate,” Manshum said.

Cleanup efforts continue this year. The rupture was to a 30-inch pipeline carrying oil from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario. The oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek near Marshall, about 60 east of Grand Rapids.

Preliminary testing of the ruptured pipe found surface cracks and indications of corrosion. The Enbridge pipeline was installed in the 1960s and is part of a system that was eyed by federal officials prior to the leak.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has said that it warned Enbridge about potential problems including possible safety code violations related to monitoring pipeline corrosion.

SOURCE: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57359683/report-about-cause-of-2010-mich-oil-spill-delayed/

Michigan lawmakers want tougher pipeline rules

Two Michigan lawmakers said they’ve introduced proposals for new measures concerning the integrity of oil and gas pipeline infrastructure.

U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the energy and commerce committee, and John Dingell, D-Mich., a former chairman, in an article in the Kalamazoo Gazette said they’ve introduced plans to “make vital, long overdue improvements” to the 2.5 million-mile U.S. pipeline network.

The measure would tighten existing safety measures and increase penalties on pipeline operators in the event of a spill.

“Energy demand continues to increase and as we seek to responsibly meet that growing demand with our increased production, the importance of ensuring the safe transportation of those vital resources becomes even greater,” they wrote.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week called on a Canadian pipeline company to take further steps to clean the Kalamazoo River system polluted by a July 2010 oil spill.
SOURCE: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/10/12/Mich-leaders-want-tougher-pipeline-rules/UPI-80521318418360/#ixzz1af7LGzW2