Feds block company from restarting pipeline after major oil spill in Wisconsin
Post by Emily Mills on 7/31/2012 3:45pm
The federal government stopped the company responsible for spilling some 1,200 barrels of oil in central Wisconsin from restarting that key pipeline on Tuesday, calling the accident "absolutely unacceptable."
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was firm in a statement regarding Enbridge Inc., noting that, "Accidents like the one in Wisconsin are absolutely unacceptable."
"I will soon meet with Enbridge's leadership team, and they will need to demonstrate why they should be allowed to continue to operate this Wisconsin pipeline without either a significant overhaul or a complete replacement," LaHood said in the statement.
The leak was discovered last Friday near Grand Marsh, Wisconsin and is estimated to have spilled some 1,200 barrels of light crude oil destined for Chicago-area refineries. The company had been planning to restart the line today.
Enbridge has a troubled history, having recently been fined $3.7 million for a spill in 2010 that polluted the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The company was also responsible for two spills in Wisconsin in 2007 during construction of a pipeline that runs parallel to the one that ruptured last week.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, "Enbridge will now need to submit a restart plan for the entire 467-mile (752-km) pipeline to the Transportation Department's pipeline safety agency for approval before resuming operations.
"The company will also need to test the ruptured pipe, evaluate previous inspections and commission an independent probe of its integrity management.
"Line 14 is a 24-inch diameter pipe that was installed in 1998, making it a relatively new line. Enbridge said the line, which carries Canadian crude to refiners in the Midwest, had been inspected twice in the past five years.
"Enbridge did not immediately provide comment on the government order."
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at