Enbridge Energy to pay state $1.1 million for waterways violations during pipeline construction
COMMENT: Keep this in mind when Enbridge promises a standard for environmental performance with its proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project. Gateway is two pipelines connecting the tar sands to markets on the Pacific Ocean. In BC, they would cross dozens of rivers and hundreds of smaller streams, much of them salmon habitat. And it would trigger frequent large oil tanker traffic on BC's coast. The BC government is on side with promises to help companies, including Enbridge, to develop an "energy corridor" along the pipeline route. The risks are predictable, the impacts will be tragic and disastrous. This headline from Wisconsin could be foreshadowing, or just a warning. It's a choice we get to make issue of in 2009, an election year in British Columbia.
It's one of state's largest settlements in a waterways case
The company that built a 321-mile, $2 billion oil pipeline across Wisconsin has agreed to pay $1.1 million for environmental violations, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Friday.
Houston-based Enbridge Energy Co. will pay the money to settle a lawsuit accusing it of violating state permits designed to protect water quality during work in and around wetlands, rivers and streams, Van Hollen said.
The settlement is one of the largest for a wetlands and waterways case in Wisconsin, said Dave Siebert, director of the state Department of Natural Resources' Office of Energy.
"Enbridge agreed to high standards, and the state held them accountable to that," he said. "It demonstrates we take these wetlands and waterways laws seriously."
No wildlife or drinking water was damaged by the violations, Siebert said.
The violations happened in 2007 and 2008 during the pipeline's construction between Superior and Delavan, authorities said. The pipeline is 42 inches in diameter and designed to carry 400,000 barrels of crude oil each day.
It carries crude oil from Canada to a refinery near Chicago.
Denise Hamsher, an Enbridge spokeswoman, said some of the violations involved erosion controls that did not hold up during rains, causing streams to get polluted with mud. The company also was accused of allowing a construction vehicle to cross a stream when it should have used a bridge, she said.
The company was initially accused of 545 violations and settled 115, Hamsher said.
"We agreed it was just better to put this behind us even if the amount was significant," she said. "What is important is how we left that right-of-way after construction. It is restored. After a year or two, there will be very little evidence there was a construction project, with the exception of some wooded areas."