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Enbridge under scrutiny

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The EPA gets high marks from local officials on the job they have done, getting Enbridge to clean up the environmental disaster that occurred near Marshall and contaminated nearly 40-miles of the Kalamazoo River.
The EPA gets high marks from local officials on the job they have done, getting Enbridge to clean up the environmental disaster that occurred near Marshall and contaminated nearly 40-miles of the Kalamazoo River.

WASHINGTON D.C. (WKZO) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly mulling over sanctions against Enbridge because the Ontario based company failed to meet the January first deadline to complete dredging in the Kalamazoo River.

 

The federal agency has ordered the pipeline firm to come up with a plan for remediation “even if it extends into the delinquency period”.  Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum told us last month that they have provided such a plan. 

As we reported last month, Enbridge completed the dredging in two of the three locations but delays in finding a location to process the sediments coming from the River Delta at Morrow Pond in Comstock kept them from completing the work before the pond froze over.

Winter came early this year and the January first deadline passed.

Enbridge asked for extensions twice and both were rejected by the EPA in rather stern language, chastising the pipeline firm for not planning ahead.  

The EPA fears that spring flooding may push the submerged oil further downstream, contaminating parts of the Kalamazoo River basin which have not been tainted by the oil spill, and making remediation more difficult. That is why they set the January first deadline. 

The EPA isn't saying when sanctions might be levied.

Meanwhile, three U.S. Senators have expressed concern that Enbridge has increased the oil flow and the pressure on a pipeline that runs through the Upper Peninsula, crosses the Straits of Mackinac and heads down to Port Huron.

Senators Carl Levin, Dick Durban and Debbie Stabenow say in light of the spill in Calhoun County, they want to know if putting more strain on the pipeline is wise.  Especially given the environmental disaster that would ensue if the pipeline burst under the Straits.

Federal Regulator Cynthia Quarterman says in a letter to the senators that Enbridge was required to enact a comprehensive safety plan in the wake of the Kalamazoo River spill that she says resulted in “significant safety improvements” before they were allowed to increase the flow.

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