Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Not Worth the Gamble

With the preliminary hearings having commenced for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s Joint Review Panel on Enbridge Inc.‘s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands to the British Columbia coast, it would be illustrative for British Columbians to look south of the border.

The company’s operations in the United States should be of particular interest to British Columbians in relation to the Northern Gateway project. In fact, odds are the recent Enbridge pipeline spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River is a harbinger of what BC can expect in terms of the inevitable accident if Northern Gateway is approved. Even Enbridge has acknowledged that spills are an inherent risk of oil pipelines.

The difference is that BC will be doubling down on a bad bet, as the province will not only be exposed to a possible pipeline spill somewhere across several hundred water crossings, but we will be rolling the dice on the future of our north coast with the looming potentiality of an Exxon Valdez-scale oil tanker disaster.

The Michigan media has given extensive coverage to the Upper Midwest’s Enbridge experience:

The Battle Creek Enquirer reported that following a helicopter flyover of the leak over the Kalamazoo River, Governor Jennifer Granholm said the Enbridge response had been “anemic.” Granholm further stated, “There needs to be a lot more done. There are not enough resources right now on the river to contain the spill…”

According to the Enquirer, Congressman Mark Schauer said that “Enbridge violated federal regulations by dragging its feet on reporting the pipeline rupture” that dumped what the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates to be one million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.

Schauer, like Granholm, accused Enbridge of not responding quickly enough to the massive release of tar sands crude in into the Kalamazoo River and its Talmadge Creek tributary. The Enquirer also reports that Representative Candice Miller has called for the US Congress to investigate the Enbridge oil spill.

In an article appearing in the Detroit News, the Associated Press revealed that “the company has a history of pipeline problems, including leaks and regulatory violations.”

The AP also reported that “Enbridge and its affiliates have been cited for 30 enforcement actions since 2002 by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which is the US Department of Transportation’s regulatory arm.” In late January of 2010, the regulator sent a letter to Enbridge informing the company it may have “violated safety codes by improperly monitoring corrosion in the pipeline responsible for the spill.”

Keep reading this article on the Huffington Post website.

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