Canadian tar sands oil transport giant Enbridge has replaced a 461-foot section of new oil pipeline in Michigan after it fell into a ditch when a crane holding it toppled on its side on January 8 in Ceresco in Calhoun County. But not until a federal regulator requested they do so.
"The homeowner on whose property the incident occurred and another eyewitness said Enbridge employees on-site proceeded to connect the dropped pipe to already-laid line within about an hour, after what they described as a less-than-thorough evaluation of potential damage.
Those witnesses, homeowner Dave Gallagher and John Bolenbaugh, an activist opposed to Enbridge’s oil transport in Michigan who is making a documentary about the company, recorded video of the incident. They said the pipeline dropped “no less than 20 feet” and that crews never lifted it to inspect its underside for punctures or chipped protective coating that could lead to early corrosion.
“They put the pipeline in about 40 minutes afterward,” Gallagher said. “Three on-site inspectors said the pipe was fine.”
Bolenbaugh, an activist with HELPPA, caught the tumbled-over crane and dropped pipe on video. Bolenbaugh is opposed to Enbridge’s oil transport in Michigan, and is making a documentary about the company.
The section is part of Enbridge’s new Line 6B, a 36-inch pipe running nearly 300 miles from Indiana to Marysville, Michigan, where it crosses the St. Mary’s River and oil transport continues into Canada. The new line will allow Enbridge to move more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day through Michigan.
"It was the existing Line 6B that leaked in July 2010 near Marshall -- less than 10 miles from Gallagher’s home on E Drive South -- causing the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history and requiring a more than $1-billion cleanup of the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek tributary that still is not complete."
Gallagher called the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and inspectors from the agency arrived on the scene Monday, he said.