Enbridge Energy Partners has signed a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to 2010 pipeline accidents on its Line 6B in Marshall, Mich., and on the Line 6A pipeline in Romeoville, Ill., that resulted in the release of petroleum.
As part of that agreement, Enbridge has agreed to a $2.6 billion replacement of Line 3 between Neche, N.D. and Superior. The replacement was already on the partnership’s list of upcoming projects.
“From the beginning, we’ve taken responsibility for the Line 6B release. We accept the civil penalties and enhanced safety measures in the decree. The enhanced safety measures included in the Decree are consistent with our approach to safety and integrity and our current practices and have largely been implemented over the past six years,” said Mark Maki, president for the partnership. “In fulfilling the terms of the agreement, we will cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”
The decree sets civil penalties under the Clean Water Act of $61 million relating to the Line 6B release and an additional sum of $1 million related to the Line 6A release, each payable within 30 days of the effective date. Enbridge has previously resolved claims for natural resource damages with the state of Michigan.
Safety measures set out in the decree include enhancements to the partnership’s in-line inspection-based spill prevention program; enhanced measures to protect the Straits of Mackinac along the Line 5 Straits Crossing; improved leak detection requirements; installation of new valves to control product loss in the event of an incident; continued enhancement of control room operations, and enhanced spill response capabilities. The total cost is estimated to be approximately $110 million throughout the four-year term of the decree. It is already largely incorporated in EEP’s operational and capital expense planning.
“EEP made a commitment to the people of Michigan that we would clean up and restore the Kalamazoo River and surrounding areas, and cover the costs. We’ve done that. We’ve worked extremely hard to fulfil our commitments and make good on our promises. That accountability continues with today’s announcement,” said Al Monaco, President and Chief Executive Officer, Enbridge Inc. “The learnings from our experience have made us a better company and the way we think about safety has changed. Over the past six years, we’ve intensified our focus on the safety and integrity of our systems enterprise-wide and we’ve invested significantly in our people, processes, equipment and technology. Across Enbridge, our team is galvanized by our number one priority of safety and reliability of our systems and the protection of the public and the environment.
“No incident is acceptable to us, and our safety culture challenges us to continually strive for our goal of zero incidents,” he said.