Enbridge and pipeline can’t be trusted
Enbridge Energy Partners says there is nothing to worry about. The 64-year-old pipelines carrying millions of gallons of crude oil under the Straits of Mackinac are safe and protected. And if anything happened to the twin 20-inch lines, sensors would detect the leak and shut down the pumps before real disaster ensued.
This is the same company that can’t explain why the same fail-safe mechanisms failed to keep more than a million gallons of its crude from fouling the Kalamazoo River near Marshall in 2010.
And it is the same company that we now know flat out lied about Line 5 beneath the Straits.
In March, the company told state officials that it may have scratched the protective coating on the pipes while doing work in 2014 to better secure them to the lake bed. The damage to the coating, it claimed, could be covered by a plastic bandage it told regulators in March of this year.
Last week, we learned that the damage to coating is far more extensive. No Band-Aid is going to cover pizza-sized scrapes that put the future of the pipelines in question and the safety of lakes Huron and Michigan in peril. And no Band-Aid is going to restore Enbridge’s credibility.
“Trust and transparency are critical in any relationship. This latest revelation by Enbridge means that the faith and trust Michigan has placed in Enbridge has reached an even lower level. Enbridge needs to do more than apologize, Enbridge owes the citizens of Michigan a full and complete explanation of why they failed to truthfully report the status of the pipeline,” state Attorney General Bill Schuette said.
“The fact that Enbridge has known about these breaks in coating for years is, unfortunately, less surprising than it ought to be,” Mike Shriberg, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center and a member of the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Council, said. “It seems every month there is a new revelation about the deteriorating condition of Line 5 and Enbridge’s lack of transparency. This is the wrong pipeline in the wrong location operated by the wrong company. We cannot continue to allow this pipeline to jeopardize our Great Lakes.”
That is the crux of the pipeline debate.
Even if Enbridge could be trusted, even in Line 5 could be trusted, the Great Lakes are the wrong place for a crude oil pipeline. A leak in the Straits would be a disaster for the lakes. A leak in winter would be close to impossible to clean up.
Enbridge’s Line 5 needs to be shut down. It needs an alternative that doesn’t cross and imperil one of our most important, vital and fragile resources.
Times Herald (Port Huron)