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A History of Failure on Line 5

Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW - For Love of Water, submitted a letter to the editor of the Detroit News.

detroit-news-logo.gifSeptember 22, 2016: 

Re: Trent Wetmore and Kurt Baraneicki’s Sept. 16 column “How we’re keeping Line 5 safe”: On July 25, 2010, Enbridge caused the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history when it failed to detect — for 17 hours — that its pipeline was hemorrhaging oil into the Kalamazoo River watershed. Ten days earlier, Enbridge testified before Congress that it could detect a leak “almost instantaneously.”

Now Enbridge claims that its Line 5 through the Straits of Mackinac is safe. Independent experts and Enbridge’s own track record say we shouldn’t trust these claims.

For example, Enbridge says its inspections show the “incredibly durable enamel coating applied to the pipelines in 1953 prevents rust and other corrosion.” But a 2006 report by Veolia Environmental Services documents heavy zebra mussel growth along the pipeline, making “a detailed analysis of the coating and actual pipe condition impossible.”

Not only is the pipe heavily encrusted with marine growth, its protective enamel coating is missing in numerous areas, according to a review of a 2012 underwater inspection video.

Read the entire Letter to the Editor at The Detroit News

Liz Kirkwood is Executive Director of FLOW - For Love Of Water, which is a steering committee member of the Oil & Water Don't Mix campaign.


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