Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sunken Hazard - NWF Dives underwater Mackinac Pipelines

Published on Oct 9, 2013

Video footage of Enbridge's 60-year-old tar sands pipelines, strung across the Straits of Mackinac, have never been released to the public. This past July, NWF contracted divers to obtain footage of those pipelines as a way to better understand the integrity and placement. This footage revealed that the pipelines are suspended over the lake bed, some of the original supports have broken away indicating the presence of corrosion and some sections of the pipelines are covered in large piles of unknown debris. The age and location of these pipelines is concerning enough -- it is clear that Enbridge needs to reveal a schedule for replacement. Unfortunately, instead of developing this schedule, Enbridge has increased the pressure and flow on these pipelines in order to ship more tar sands oil back into Canada. That increase in pressure has flown under the radar because Enbridge bypassed critical environmental permitting on the pipeline.

Please consider reaching out to your Senators and let them know that you're concerned about Enbridge's actions and disregard for the safety of the Great Lakes. Please push for a replacement of this pipeline and Environmental Impact Statement through a revised Presidential Permit.

This visual is evidence that our decision makers need to step in and demand a release of information from Enbridge and PHMSA.

Heightening our concern around this pipeline and the company that owns it: despite having cleared our dive work with the U.S. Coast Guard, several Congressional members, and Homeland Security, our staff and the dive crew had uncomfortable interactions with Enbridge representatives. As soon as our team set out on the water, we were quickly accompanied by an Enbridge crew that monitored our every move. This monitoring did not stop at the surface: Enbridge also placed a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) into the water to watch our team.

These actions and our video have raised our level of concern for the general operational behavior of this company and their overall safety culture—including the way they treat the concerned public living near their pipelines. If these aging pipelines rupture, the resulting oil slick would cause irreversible damage to fish and wildlife, drinking water, Lake Michigan beaches, Mackinac Island and our economy.

To make matters worse, the recent shutdown of our federal government has left communities and wildlife with an increased risk of oil spills and failed response because pipeline safety and responding agencies have been scaled back or closed all together. The recent oil spill in North Dakota, of approximately 800,000 gallons, is living proof.

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1 comment:

smurfette said...

Good heavens! Just what we need!