Enbridge, the Calgary-based company that wants to build the Northern Gateway pipeline from the oilsands to the B.C. coast, could be slapped with a record-setting fine of $3.7 million US after a rupture in a Michigan pipeline it owns dumped 20,000 barrels of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which oversees pipeline safety in the U.S., found two dozen violations in relation to the rupture.
In a statement, the administration says “Enbridge’s Line 6B ruptured on the evening of July 25, 2010, while the pipeline was in the process of a scheduled shutdown. Despite control centre alarms, there were several attempts to restart the line, resulting in more pressure that expelled more oil.”
In its report, the administration chastises Enbridge for failing to address corrosion and cracks in the pipeline that were identified in previous inspections. It also notes that it took Enbridge 17 hours from the start of the spill before the line was shut down. The spill contaminated 60 kilometres of the Kalamazoo River.
Enbridge’s net income for the year is expected to be $440-$450 million.
Enbridge has 30 days to respond to the PHMSA.