Enbridge continues work on proposal to restart oil pipeline that spilled into Michigan river

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Company works on Mich. oil pipeline restart plan

MARSHALL, Mich. — The company that runs a pipeline that spilled oil into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan said Thursday it is revising its proposal to restart the line.

It’s still not known when the Enbridge Inc. pipeline, shut down by an oil spill that was reported by the company July 26, might restart. Enbridge plans to file a revised startup plan with federal regulators Friday.

The pipeline carried about 8 million gallons of oil daily between Griffith, Ind., and Sarnia, Ontario. An estimated 820,000 to more than 1 million gallons leaked in the spill near Marshall. The cause is under investigation.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration earlier this week rejected Enbridge’s initial restart proposal. Regulators want more safeguards and investigation of what they called pipeline anomalies included in the restart plan.

Enbridge and Environmental Protection Agency officials say the cleanup along the river and a nearby creek is progressing well. But the EPA has rejected some parts of Enbridge’s proposed remediation plan, saying it lacks enough technical detail for sampling and quality control. Enbridge is working on revised plans to submit to the EPA.

Enbridge has bought two homes near the spill site and is in the process of appraising three to four others, said Patrick Daniel, chief executive of the Calgary, Alberta-headquartered company. Enbridge has offered to buy up to 200 homes in the 30-mile-long spill zone at their full-list price or appraised value before the spill to ease homeowners’ concerns.

Daniel said Enbridge has processed more than 800 damage claims that “vary significantly from one to another” at community centers it has established in Marshall and Battle Creek. The company did not immediately provide details on the estimated amount of claims during a Thursday teleconference with media.

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