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Enbridge: cracks in the pipelines and the project

Charlotte Ireland

August 23, 2012


Enbridge Inc has recently come under much warranted criticism when the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its report on the company’s massive July 2010 oil spill in Michigan.


Enbridge, which was fined a mere $3.7 million for the spill, acted like “Keystone Kops” as they failed to report the spill for 17 hours, the report confirmed. The incident, which leaked more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil in and around the Kalamazoo River, could have been averted. Enbridge failed to repair a defect on the pipeline that had been discovered five years before the spill. Adding to Enbridge’s already appalling record, another line rupture spilling over 1,000 barrels of oil in a Wisconsin field occurred on July 27 almost exactly two years after the Michigan spill.


Enbridge’s disastrous spills and the scathing NTSB report are adding to the growing public opposition the $6 billion Northern Gateway pipeline—which will carry oil 1,170km from the Alberta tar sands to the BC coast on its way to the US and Asia. The Vancity Credit Union announced August 22 that it has divested its holdings in Enbridge based on the NTSB report.


Cracks are appearing in the wall of Tory support for the pipeline.  In early August, BC’s Tory MP, Heritage Minister James Moore, blasted Enbridge’s environmental record, stating “This project will not survive public scrutiny unless Enbridge takes far more seriously their obligation to…answer…about the way in which they’ve operated their business in the very recent past.” Harper wishes to push ahead but Moore’s statements reflect the heat the party is facing.


Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair is opposing the tar sands exports, but instead calling for “developing, upgrading, processing, refining our own natural resources here.” Meanwhile BC NDP’s Adrian Dix stated his party opposes the pipeline and, if elected, would withdraw from the federal government’s review process and initiate its own.  The opposition to the pipeline is welcome, but we don’t want tar sands at home and we don’t need another pipeline review. We need to shut tar sands and pipelines down now

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