Another spill has occurred on a pipeline operated by Canadian Company Enbridge Inc.
Approximately 200,000 litres (1,200 barrels) of bitumen spilled from a pipeline in rural Wisconsin July 27, 2012. The spill occurred on a leg of Enbridge's Lakehead Pipeline System, which transports oil from Neche, N.D., to Chicago, Ill., and to Buffalo, NY. Lakehead Pipeline System is the same system that failed July 25, 2010, leading to a massive 3.2 million-litre (20,000 barrel) oil spill into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.
In response the U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has ordered Enbridge to perform a comprehensive safety review of its entire 1,900-mile Lakehead oil delivery system before it can operate again.
"We want to be sure the operator is addressing everything they can for the entire system so it operates safely," said PHMSA spokesman Damon Hill.
These reports and spills raise concerns about the safety of Enbridge's plan to build a pipeline to deliver crude bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to tankers on the B.C. coast. Environmental review hearings are underway and the federal government has set a Dec. 31, 2013 deadline for the panel's report on the Northern Gateway project.
Canada's Conservative government is a strong supporter of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, but in the wake of Enbridge's spill in Wisconsin Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore has questioned Enbridge's safety record as: "not one that ... any other company should follow if they want to do business in British Columbia."
Moore's comments are significant because this is the first time any top Canadian government official has questioned the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.
View August 3, 2012 Planet Ark coverage
View August 3, 2012 Financial Post coverage
View August 2, 2012 The Globe and Mail article
View August 2, 2012 Inside Climate News
View August 1, 2012 U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Order to Enbridge (PDF)
View July 13, 2012 Manitoba Wildlands news item
View Manitoba Wildlands Energy Development page
Inside Climate News, Planet Ark, Financial Post, CTV