Feds want more answers from Enbridge on Wisconsin oil pipeline spill

Jul 31, 2012

Enbridge Energy is facing new questions from federal regulators. 

Those questions come after another one of the company’s pipelines in Wisconsin sprung a leak.

The Wisconsin pipeline break happened last week.  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood called last week's spill “absolutely unacceptable”.      

The leak was much less than the 2010 spill that fouled the Kalamazoo River.   

But this time, federal regulators are demanding more answers from Enbridge before they let the company restart the pipeline.

Federal regulators are ordering the company to test the ruptured pipe, review previous inspections, and commission an independent probe of Enbridge’s management plan for the pipeline.     The feds say they won’t allow the pipeline to restart until Enbridge submits a restart plan that meets with the approval of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

A federal report on the 2010 spill in Michigan found that Enbridge had ignored corrosion problems with its pipeline.    One federal official described Enbridge’s response to the Marshall spill as “Keystone Cops”.

Enbridge plans to replace the Michigan pipeline that leaked.    The company hopes to get government approval to build the new pipeline next year.