Enbridge disagrees with itself on state’s pipeline safety role

For more than six decades, Enbridge’s dual Line 5 pipelines have run four miles along the bottom of the Great Lakes, exposed to the elements. The pipelines carry tars sands crude and natural gas liquids across the Straits of Mackinac, the narrow waterway connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

The pipelines are moving oil “near delicate wetlands and through fish spawning habitats where swift currents pull water between the Great Lakes,” The Narwhal says. Michigan scientists, conservationists and tribes have been “warning that Enbridge’s Line 5 was a disaster waiting to happen,” the article said.

For more than five decades, the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline has operated along a 282-mile corridor across northern Minnesota. It passes through sensitive wetlands and wild rice waters, crossing rivers and streams with some of the state’s cleanest waters.

Line 3 is in such bad shape, it can only operate at half capacity. State regulators worry it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

When it comes to addressing Minnesota’s aging Line 3 and Michigan’s aging Line 5, Enbridge offers different interpretations about the state’s role in pipeline safety.

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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

A Vicious Cycle: Crude Oil Pipelines Increase Climate Change, Increase Pipeline Spills

Federal regulators have issued a warning to pipeline operators on the danger severe weather events such as increased heavy rains and flooding pose to pipelines.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, “sent a warning to natural gas and hazardous liquids pipeline operators earlier this month,” according to a May 21 State Impact: Pennsylvania story.

PHMSA lists seven incidents that have occurred in the past several years, including the release of more than 1,238 barrels of gasoline into the Loyalsock Creek from a Sunoco/Energy Transfer pipeline in Lycoming County in October, 2016.

Flash floods and landslides led to the rupture of the line, which was built in 1937.

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