The difficulty of getting a clear answer on the protective coating on Enbridge Line 3’s pipes

One of Enbridge’s pipe storage yards. Photo taken summer, 2017

Last week’s blog raised questions about the safety of the pipes Enbridge plans to use to build a crude oil pipeline across 355 miles of  northern Minnesota. The pipes for Line 3 have sat outside in storage yards for years, exposed to the elements. The pipes have anti-corrosion coating that is supposed to protect them underground, but it’s not good for them to sit outside as the sun can degrade the coating.

It seemed like a reasonable question to ask: “What role do regulators play in assuring the pipe’s protective coating still has its integrity if and when Line 3 is built?

It’s been challenging to get a direct answer. The bottom line seems to be that regulators don’t play a role. They have deferred that responsibility to Enbridge. They just seem reluctant to admit it. Continue reading

Enbridge’s Line 3 pipes have sat in storage yards for years, exposed to the elements. Have they lost their anti-corrosion protection?

A Texas expose raises important questions for Minnesota

An investigative report on pipeline safety by KXAN in Texas raises new questions about the safety of Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota.

The report by Austin, Texas-based KXAN focused on Kinder Morgan’s planned Permian Highway Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline stretching from the Texas-New Mexico border to Katy, a town just west of Houston. Starting last June, the company began stacking pipelines along the route, preparing for construction. The pipes have been exposed to the elements for roughly 10 months. Based on industry standards, pipeline opponents now challenge the integrity of pipes anti-corrosion coating due to long sun exposure.

Similar questions need to be asked about Enbridge Line 3’s pipeline storage yards. Such pipe yards have been popping up along Line 3’s proposed route through northern Minnesota for years. Those pipes, too, have been exposed to sun and harsh elements which could damage their anti-corrosion protective coatings.

When pipeline’s corrode, they spill. Continue reading