BP Has Ties to Michigan Oil Spill, Enbridge
September 17, 2010The Intel Hub
By Terra Mealey
On July 26, 2010, near Marshall Michigan, a part of the Olympic pipeline controlled and maintained by Enbridge Inc, dumped approximately 800,000 gallons of oil into Talmdge Creek, a creek that flows into the Kalamazoo River. What most of us didnt know was that in Dec. 2005 the Enbridge corporation partnered with BP for ownership of the Olympic pipeline. BP spent 101.9 million dollars to gain 65% of the shares in Enbridge Inc, the leader in energy transportation and distribution in North America. Enbridge also internationally operates the worlds longest crude oil and liquids transportation system in the US and Canada.
Olympic Pipeline President Chris Maudlin stated that “the day to day operations of the Olympic pipeline would continue unchanged with the partnership and that BP would continue to operate the pipeline with safety as its top priority.”
Statements made by BPs North America Inc. indicated that they adhered to the highest standard of safety and that they were currently taking comprehensive steps to meet and exceed the state and federal safety and environmental regulations.
Amazingly, information has come to light that the spill could have easily been prevented. The Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration raised their concerns to Enbridge/ BP, notifying them twice in January that there were potential problems involving the old pipeline. The administration stated that the pipeline was installed in 1969, that it could cause a rupture and that there was an inadequate system in place for monitoring the internal corrosion.
Incidentally, Enbridge/BP had discontinued the use of the monitoring system for corrosion inside line6B, the pipeline that caused the oil spill. The new monitoring system that was in place did not meet federal standards yet in a move all too familiar, Enbridge was not penalized. When asked about the potential problems cited in the governments oversight reports, an Enbridge spokesperson stated that he was unaware of the reports.
As of Aug 8, 2010 the spill had effected up to 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River including marshlands,residential areas, farmlands and businesses. On July 29, the EPA rejected Enbridge/BPs first clean up plan, giving them until Aug 2, 2010 to revise it.
Michigan Gov. Granholm has publicly criticized the clean up efforts, stating that the resources that have been brought in by Enbridge and the EPA have been wholly inadequate.
An example of this was the amount of boom deployed in the clean up efforts. The plan called for 20 or more sites yet only 8 were deployed. In a scene reminiscent of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, promises have been made and continually broken.
Enbridge’s chief executive publicly stated:
“This is our responsibility this is our mess and we are going to clean it up.”
Residents living along the oil spill have been openly victimized by Enbridge. According to residents, they were approached by Enbridge and asked to sign settlement forms without knowing what they were actually signing. The settlements consisted of a 300$ air purifier and limited evacuation expenses. By signing this settlement. Enbridge was released from and against all liability and actions caused by the disaster.
Residents who needed medical care were made to sign medical release forms that would require Enbridge to access any and all medical records of the individual before they would pay for doctor visits. James Oberstar, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee stated that Enbridge has exploited the residents by forcing them to sign consent forms when they haven’t been through a situation such as this and have no idea what to expect or what expenses may come about.
Even the federal government went on record with their concerns over the consent forms in a letter to Enbridge that stated that the medical forms were inappropriate and gave Enbrigde access to a broad amount of medical information that they didnt need to have. Michigans Department of Health and Human Services called the forms deplorable.
As of Sept.16, 2010, the Federal government has opened investigative hearings into the oil spill as well as Enbridges safety procedures. Reports from investigators show that although alarms followed a drop in oil pressure on July 25, it wasn’t until a day later when the local utility company, NOT ENBRIDGE, confirmed that there was a leak along the Talmadge Creek.
According to Deputy of Transportation Secretary John Porcari, there has been safety concerns for over a year, in fact, similar to the Gulf of Mexico fiasco, Enbridge ignored repeated warnings about the safety of their pipeline. Washington has proposed new regulations by increasing penalties for violations, increasing inspections, and the establishment of a set of standards for leak detections and control room procedures. Will these new regulations actually increase safety or will they simply further the establishments plan of big government.
Enbridge has found multiple defects in the pipeline yet they have asked for permission to continue operating the line at a reduced pressure for the next 2 1/2 years! That’s right, they are attempting to continue production while the leak is being fixed!
With common sense finally prevailing, the federal government denied the request. Enbridge has been ordered to present a repair plan by Sept. 26, 2010.
Will BP be able to clean up yet another oily mess they have produced in the United States? Will our government finally take a long look at BP and its safety and maintenance practices? Should BP even be allowed to operate in the United States of America? Its time We The People start asking these very important questions.