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Enbridge pipeline break in Wisconsin partly blamed for spike in Michigan gasoline prices

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Gasoline prices in parts of Michigan are soaring over $4 a gallon.

The recent leak that shutdown an oil pipeline in Wisconsin is getting much of the blame. The Enbridge Energy pipeline has been shut down since it sprung a leak last week.

Patrick DeHaan is with GasBuddy.com.  He says the pipeline shutdown is slowing the delivery of crude oil to at least one Chicago area refinery.

“The spike that we’re seeing is very regional specific. This is not happening to the degree outside of our area,” said DeHaan.

DeHaan says it may take a few weeks for prices to change after oil starts flowing again through Enbridge’s Line 14.

Meanwhile, federal officials are holding up the restart of the pipeline until Enbridge completes a review of a recent leak.

Federal officials have been highly critical of Enbridge for how it handled another pipeline accident near Marshall in 2010. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has recommended Enbridge pay a $3.7 million fine for the 2010 spill. The head of the National Transportation Safety Board described the company’s response to the pipeline break near Marshall as “Keystone cops,” a reference to the comically inept police officers of silent pictures. 

Enbridge estimates it has spent nearly $800 million cleaning up after the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill.  The leak in Wisconsin is significantly smaller.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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