Enbridge Supported by Wisconsin Supreme Court in Dane County Case

A ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court has allowed Enbridge Energy to continue on with their pipeline project in Dane County without any additional insurance, despite the local government putting a requirement on Enbridge’s permit for a $25 million environmental liability policy.

Wisconsin lawmakers stepped in and passed a provision blocking local municipalities from putting liability requirements on an operator if they already had sufficient insurance. After a couple back and forths of courts contesting Enbridge’s quality of insurance, the high court ruled that Enbridge does have comprehensive insurance. According to Enbridge, they have $860 million worth of general liability insurance, including coverage for ’sudden and accidental’ pollution.

Despite the ruling, several people within local government have been adamant that Enbridge has yet to provide proof of adequate insurance for ’sudden and accidental’ cases. Concerned about the decision, Patricia Hammel, a landowner’s attorney, stated that it “allows Enbridge to operate the largest tar sands pipeline in the U.S. across Wisconsin without adequate insurance and exposes our people, land and water to the consequences of a catastrophic spill.”

Enbridge’s oil spill in 2010, in southwest Michigan, polluted almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River and cost them $1.2. billion. In addition, the United States fined them for missing deadlines on pipeline inspections prior to the spill, costing them an extra $1.8 million. The cleanup lasted until 2014.

Meanwhile, Enbridge has finished their $1.5 billion pipeline make-over and built the Waterloo pump station, which, according to a spokeswoman of Enbridge, Jennifer Smith, is necessary in order to “ensure a reliable source of energy for decades to come.”


TransCanada Restarts Keystone Oil Pipeline After Recent Leak in Missouri

A section of TransCanada’s Keystone oil pipeline has been restarted after a leak of about 43 barrels of crude occurred in Missouri earlier this month forcing the company to shut service on the pipe, company spokesman Terry Cunha said.

Keystone pipeline system allows the flow of 590,000 bpd taking Canadian crude from northern Alberta to refineries in the U.S. Midwest.

Following a leak of 43 barrels of crude oil, TransCanada had shut an arm of Keystone from Steele City, Nebraska to Patoka, Illinois on February 6th.

A spokesman for U.S. regulator PHMSA said that the line was restarted with a 20 percent reduction of pressure.


TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline Found to be Likely Cause of Missouri Oil Spill

TransCanada said its Keystone pipeline is the likely culprit of the Missouri oil spill that prompted a segment of the line to be shut last week.

"Preliminary investigation has led TransCanada to believe that the oil discovered in St. Charles county likely originates from the Keystone Pipeline system," a company spokesman said in an email Friday.

The 43-barrel oil leak prompted Enbridge to shut its parallel Platte crude line, before announcing that they would resume operations by last Saturday after investigations led them to be confident enough that the leak was not caused by their pipeline.

TransCanada has approximately 75 people on site to continue to excavate and safely expose the area of concern. The company spokesperson also continued to affirm that there is no threat to public safety or the environment.

PHMSA revealed that the excavation won’t be completed until Sunday.


Sunoco Pipeline to Pay Over $5 Million After Three Oil Spills

Sunoco Pipeline will pay more than $5.4 million to settle with the state of Louisiana and the federal government after three oil spills occurred in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

In a Thursday agreement to pay civil penalties and state enforcement costs, the company hopes to resolve the alleged violations of the Clean Water Act from the three oil spills that occurred between 2012 and 2015. Pipeline corrosion was the cause of the spills.

550 barrels of oil in Tyler County, Texas spilled in 2013. 4,500 barrels in Caddo Parish, La. In 2015, and then 40 barrels in Grant County, Okla in 2015.

The settlement includes agreements for Sunoco to perform inspections related to corrosion.


Energy Transfer Crude Pipe to Resume After Spill Kept it Down for 3 Weeks

Energy Transfer LP completed testing on its West Texas Gulf Crude pipeline which is expected to resume Tuesday, a spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement on Monday.

A spill extended maintenance work on the line which resulted in a prolonged outage that pressured regional crude prices in West Texas as the region grappled with limited pipeline takeaway capacity.

The spill involved an undisclosed amount of water and contained “a very small amount of residual crude oil,” the Dallas pipeline operator said in an email.

The West Texas Gulf pipeline runs from Colorado City to Longview, Texas. Originally, maintenance was scheduled for about 10 days starting on October 10, however a spill delayed the normal return of operations by over a week.

Julie Dermansky

Bueckeye's Pipeline Repair Facing Storm Delays After River Spill

Buckeye Partners LP said on Monday that they plan on beginning full repair work this week on the jet fuel pipeline that breached and spilled 8,000 gallons of fuel into Indiana’s St. Marys River over the weekend.

Although clean-up efforts are already underway, replacing the broken line will need to be delayed because of rain storms that have raised the river’s level near Decatur, Indiana, said Buckeye spokesman Marty White.

“We’re dealing with the elements,” White said. “We’re hoping to get the pipeline back up and running this week, but it’s too soon to tell.”

The company does not yet have an estimate of clean-up costs and is unclear on when clean-up will finish or when the pipeline will be brought back online, White said.

The pipeline is buried beneath the channel and it would be impossible to fully repair it before water levels recede to normal levels, White said.


Plains All American Face Criminal Charges After California Spill

A California jury on Friday found Plains All American Pipeline company guilty on criminal charges from a major oil spill three years ago along the Pacific shoreline near Santa Barbara.

The spill ranks as the largest in more than four decades to hit the northwest coast of Los Angeles.

Crude oil gushed onto Refugio State Beach shores and into the Pacific after an underground pipeline badly worn by corrosion ruptured along a coastal highway west of Santa Barbara on May 19, 2015. Hundreds of sea bird and marine mammals died because of the spill.

The company estimated as much as 3,400 barrels of crude oil escaped into the environment at the edge of a national marine sanctuary and state-designated underwater preserve rich in marine life.

The company faces at least $1.5 million in penalties if Friday’s conviction is sustained  according to a chief deputy district attorney for Santa Barbara County.

The penalty is a small fraction of the $150 million that Plains said it had spent on spill response and cleanup costs by the time the criminal case was brought in 2016.

Plains was convicted of discharging crude oil into state waters, a felony, and for eight misdemeanor offenses, including the failure to immediately report the spill, the chief deputy district attorney added.

One of Plains’ employees, an environmental and regulatory compliance specialist, was originally charged in the case as well, but those charges, and dozens of others against the company, were dismissed before the trial.

The court specifically found the company at fault for failing to protect the pipeline from corrosion as well as failing to detect and report spills immediately.


Regulators Investigate Oil Discovered in Soil at Old Alaskan Spill Site

Alaska regulators are investigating crude oil discovered along a buried section of the Trans-Alaska pipeline north of Fairbanks.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. recovered 10 gallons (39 liters) of crude oil discovered on Sunday following an excavation at the site south of Atigun Pass, the Anchorage Daily news reported.

Crews inspecting a mainline valve discovered the oil in soil and an excavation at the site is continuing, said Alyeska Pipeline spokeswoman.

 "Engineering and field personnel are assessing the situation and developing plans to safely excavate the valve and to determine the cause of crude oil in the excavated area," the spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

An environmental program specialist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation said that the oil could have been overlooked from the 2013 oil release that occurred at the same site. 21 gallons (79 liters) were linked to the soil movement that occurs as tundra freezes and thaws, she added.

Although finding some oil traces were probable, the amount found by the inspection crew was more than expected.

"We're working through Alyeska to develop a cleanup plan, and to figure out if this is contamination left from the 2013 release or whether it is indicative of a new issue at the valve," the environmental program specialist concluded.

Houston Chronicle

Targa Resource's New Pilot Project Uses Bugs To Clean Soil After Spills

Targa Resources has a pilot project in McKenzie County that will use bioremediation (known as land farming) to remove spilled oil and allow the soil to be reused. The alternative method will introduce bugs to contaminated soil.

“When you spill hydrocarbon, there are naturally occurring microbes – bugs – that immediately start to eat it,” said David McQuade, senior environmental director for Targa. “I’m adding a bunch more bugs that want to eat it at a faster rate.”

After completing a successful land farming project on the Fort Berthold Reservation last year, Targa got permission from the Tribal Business Council to do bioremediation at the company’s facility in New Town.

Microorganisms added during the Bioremediation process begin to degrade contaminants in the soil. Crew workers periodically make sure the microbes have enough oxygen by working the soil after it is spread about 8 inches thick in order to accelerate the process.

The bugs digest the hydrocarbon to convert them into carbon dioxide, water, and organic matter.

“Naturally, the soil at end of process becomes a very, very fertile material, sometimes more fertile than it was before the spill,” McQuade said.

He added that the process only works for hydrocarbon spills and not brine.

Since microorganisms hibernate in the winter, the project is expected to continue into next year.

McQuade said he’s meeting with policy makers and leaders of the Northwest Landowners Association regarding possible solutions to speed up the permitting process.

Bismarck Tribune

Train Accident Spills 230,000 Gallons of Oil, Service Resumed

BNSF Railway Co stated on Monday that service will be resumed Tuesday on tracks in northwestern Iowa where a train left the track and spilled crude oil from derailed cars.

The derailing occurred near Doon, Iowa on Friday, sending 32 rail cars off the track with an estimated 230,000 gallons of spilled oil into flood waters including a nearby river.

The train included close to 58,000 barrels of crude oil traveling from Western Canada to Stroud, Oklahoma for oil producer ConocoPhillips, a Conoco spokesman said. The oil company said it doesn’t expect any serious disruption to its shipments due to the accident.

BNSF said in a statement that the crew is nearly finished removing the oil damage from the incident as well as repairing the tracks.

Booms have been placed “approximately five miles downstream to capture any oil that may have traveled with floodwaters through nearby fields.” said the railroad company.

BNSF has not said what caused the train accident. No injuries or fire resulted from the incident.



ETP Shuts Two Philadelphia Pipes After Possible Gasoline Leak

Energy Transfer Partners said it is keeping two Philadelphia refined product pipelines shut down while it investigates discovered gasoline in a creek nearby.

The two pipes, one 8-inch and one 12-inch, help carry refined products from refineries to New York Harbor and Western Pennsylvania.

The shutdowns came as a result of a Friday precaution regarding discovered gasoline in a creek outside Philadelphia. ETP responded on Friday saying that it was still trying to determine whether the leak came from its pipelines.

The source of the leak has yet to be discovered, and ETP has not responded to requests for comments.


Five-Year Cleanup of 840,000-gallon Oil Pipeline Spill Wraps Up in North Dakota

A North Dakota farm family affected by a 2013 oil spill that leaked some 840,000 gallons of oil across their wheat field is finally ready to plant for the first time after nearly five years of cleanup work.

The spill came from a pipeline owned by former Tesoro, which is now Andeavor, who said lightning may have struck the line and caused the pipeline rupture in northern North Dakota near the Canadian border in 2013.

The spill came to affect about 14 acres of land and has cost the pipeline company $93 million in cleanup efforts. The original cost estimate of cleanup was about $4 million.

The pipeline company said the spill did not affect water sources or any wildlife.

The farm family told reporters it hopes to plant a cover crop this year on the spill-affected area to put nutrients back into the soil in order to encourage a cash crop next year.

The Andeavor spill has been called one of the largest onshore spills in U.S. history.

Houston Chronicle

U.S. Government Fines Enbridge $1.8 Million for Missing Pipeline Inspection Deadlines

The U.S. government fined Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. more than $1.8 million for reportedly missing deadlines for pipeline inspections following a record-breaking oil spill in Michigan in 2010.

The fine is the result of the latest legal battle related to a pipeline rupture that caused more than 1 million gallons of crude oil to spill into the Kalamazoo River in July 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Nearly 40 miles of the river, shorelines, and wetlands were polluted, and the pricey cleanup process took about four years.

Enbridge in 2016 had complied with U.S. regulators to conduct additional pipeline inspections to its Lakehead network of about 2,000 miles of pipelines and was to use tools that could detect cracks, corrosion, and other pipeline flaws.

But authorities concluded that Enbridge failed to meet the required timeframe for six inspections conducted last year.

Enbridge denies violating the timeframe set in 2016 but agreed to pay the penalty to resolve the matter.


November Keystone Crude Oil Spill Nearly Double Original Estimated Amount

A 2017 crude oil spill in South Dakota that came from TransCanada's Keystone pipeline was nearly double the original estimate, making the November incident the largest inland spill in the U.S. since 2010.

The Aberdeen American News reported that a spokesperson for TransCanada told the newspaper the incident caused 9,700 barrels of oil to leak in rural South Dakota on November 16. The original estimate was 5,000 barrels.

The pipeline was shut down immediately following the incident and was back in operation less than two weeks later.

TransCanada said the pipeline had been fully repaired and cleanup had been conducted.

The Keystone crude oil pipeline moves 590,000 barrels a day and links Alberta's oil fields to U.S. refineries.


Mariner East 2 NatGas Liquids Pipeline Spills More Drilling Fluids in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regulators issued another notice of violation to Energy Transfer Partners on Monday after its Sunoco Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline spilled drilling fluids into a wetland.

Energy Transfer said it spilled less than one gallon of drilling fluids into a wetland in Shirley Township and that the incident was associated with horizontal drilling.

Drilling has temporarily stopped at the site until the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection gives the company permission to resume.

Since May 2017, the Pennsylvania DEP has issued 46 notices of violation to Energy Transfer for various releases during construction.

The company's last spill into this wetland happened in October when it released between 5,000-10,000 gallons of drilling fluid, which is usually a mixture of clay and water.

Several work stoppages by Pennsylvania regulators have delayed the original expected completion date for Mariner East 2. Energy Transfer hopes to complete Mariner East 2 by the end of the second quarter.


Washington Gov. Signs Measure to Boost Oil Transportation Safety in State

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Friday signed a law improving oil transportation safety to protect state waterways from contamination.

The legislation includes the intent to raise funds that would be used in the prevention of oil spills as well as in the development of tighter preparedness plans that would be followed if oil were to contaminate waterways.

The measure also extends the state's oil barrel tax to pipelines, which currently pays for spill response prevention measures for oil received by train or vessels.

The Department of Ecology must increase coordination with Canadian partners to increase safety, data sharing, and to talk about issues related to reducing oil spill risk and navigational safety.

The DOE must also practice equipment deployment drills every three years for onshore and offshore sites, according to the measure.

The Spokesman-Review

Mariner East 2 Pipeline Spills Fluid in Creek Again, Pennsylvania Regulators Issue Notice of Violation

Pennsylvania state regulators on Friday issued a notice of violation to Energy Transfer Partners' Sunoco Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline after the company notified the department that it had released drilling fluids into a stream.

Energy Transfer Partners told the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that it released about 50 gallons of fluid into the Snitz Creek on Thursday while drilling underneath it in West Cornwall Township.

This incident marks the pipeline company's third inadvertent release of fluid into the Snitz Creek after one spill in August 2017 and another in September 2017.

The DEP said it would need to give Energy Transfer Partners its approval before drilling could begin again at the site.

The Mariner East 2 is designed to expand the total capacity of the Mariner East project to 345,000 barrels per day. Mariner East 2 is expected to be complete by the end of Q2 2018.


Colonial Pipeline to Pay $3.3 Million in Fines, Damages to Alabama for 2016 Pipeline Spills

Colonial Pipeline Co will pay the state of Alabama $3.3 million in damages and penalties related to an explosion and spill on its 5,500-mile gasoline line in 2016.

The state's attorney general said the settlement is to first address environmental damage to land and water that was caused by the combined 11,800-barrel spill that happened in rural Shelby County in late 2016.

In September of 2016, nearly 7,400 barrels leaked below ground and was discovered by a mining inspector. The leak was caused by pipe fatigue due to improper soil compaction.

In October, a pipeline explosion killed one worker and injured several others after the pipeline exploded during maintenance on the line when it was accidentally struck by excavating equipment. About 4,400 barrels spilled as a result of the explosion.

The Colonial Pipeline transports more than 3 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast to New York.


Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Files Report, Says Dakota Access Pipeline Unsafe

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed a report to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arguing that the pipeline technology used by Energy Transfer Partners for the Dakota Access Pipeline cannot detect large, dangerous leaks.

The 313-page report argues that the current remote-detection technology being used to monitor the pipeline cannot detect leaks that are less than two percent of the full pipeline flow rate. At an assumed full rate of 600,000 barrels of oil per day, a possible undetected leak could amount to as much as 12,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the report.

Although the 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline has been in operation since June of last year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's fight against the project has not ended since it began protesting the line in 2016.

The tribe wrote in its report that the worst-case scenarios envisioned by Energy Transfer Partners still do not cover the possibilities of things like human error or equipment malfunction.

It is unlikely that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will revoke permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could use its report to sue the government.


Cleanup Underway After Centurion Pipeline Oil Spill in Oklahoma

Cleanup is underway in Yukon, Oklahoma after a pipeline burst on Sunday, spilling an estimated 1,000 barrels of crude oil into a private pond.

The spill occurred from a pipe owned by Centurion Pipeline, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp. The company said the release has been contained.

The EPA told local reporters that hundreds of dead fish are being removed from the private pond as cleanup continues.

Centurion sent local reporters an updated statement Monday saying the company has made significant improvements in removing oil from the pond and that it will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.

News 9