Federal officials to release report on Enbridge oil spill on Tuesday

Jul 9, 2012

Federal regulators will release a report tomorrow on the reasons why an oil pipeline broke near Marshall.

Environmentalists want to see if problems with federal oversight of the pipeline industry will be cited in the report.

The National Transportation Safety Board has spent the 23 months since the pipeline break analyzing everything from the pipeline company’s records to a section of the pipeline itself trying to determine why Line 6B ruptured.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recommended a nearly four million dollar fine against Enbridge Energy for its handling of the pipeline breech near Marshall.  That report cited 24 safety standard violations.

Anthony Swift is with the Natural Resources Defense Council.    He expects the NTSB will acknowledge a problem with pipeline safety inspections.  It’s a problem the agency has noted before.

“What the NTSB said was…(A) there was a lack of oversight by federal regulators…and (B) pipeline companies are proving  unable to self-regulate,” says Swift.    

Enbridge has spent $765 million cleaning up more than 800 thousand gallons of crude oil from the spill.    Swift says, depending on the NTSB report, the company may end up paying even more. 

Tuesday's report will only be a summary.   The complete final report is not expected to be released for several weeks.