Keystone Pipeline: Is there an End-Run in the Works?

July 25, 2012

Most people that pay attention to energy and climate issues will know about Keystone, the proposed pipeline to channel Canadian Tarsands gook to Gulf Coast refineries for overseas sales.

But while Keystone gets the media, there is a back door route quietly being planned in the upper midwest. If you watch the video, you’ll see one of the less appealing characters wearing a t-shirt labeled “Enbridge”, which may be a name you have not heard. There is an end-run being staged around the stalled Keystone project. Stay tuned for more on this, but Michigan Public Radio fills in some blanks.

Michigan Radio:

Enbridge Energy is planning to replace an old pipeline that runs through Michigan.

It’s called Line 6B. That’s the same line that broke in Marshall nearly two years ago.  The Environmental Protection Agency says more than one million gallons of tar sands oil spilled into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

Since the spill, Enbridge has been making repairs on that pipeline.

Joe Martucci is a spokesperson for Enbridge. He says the new pipeline will cut down on the number of repairs they’ll have to make.

“The purpose and need of it is integrity driven and also to increase the capacity of the line at the same time.”

After the Marshall spill, Enbridge was ordered to reduce the pressure in Line 6B.  That means there’s a lot less oil flowing through that pipeline now than there was before the spill.

Martucci says the new pipeline will allow Enbridge to double the amount of oil they can transport, up to 500,000 barrels per day.  There is the potential for the pipeline to move as much as 800,000 barrels per day. But Joe Martucci says they would have to add more equipment to do so, and file a new application with the state of Michigan.

He says oil from Alberta’s tar sands region will be the main product in their new pipeline.

Beth Wallace with the National Wildlife Federation says there’s evidence Enbridge wants to make the Great Lakes region a hub for transporting tar sands oil.

“There’s a way they can push product all the way east for export, and they’ve actually talked about that in some of their presentations and Power Points to their investors.”

To do that, the company would have to reverse the flow of oil in one of its Canadian pipelines.

Enbridge spokesperson Joe Martucci confirms that the company is proposing to reverse the flow of oil in that Canadian pipeline. But he says there is no larger-scale plan in place.

“Well, I think that’s a notion without substance as far as I know. I know of no plan or proposal that would connect all those dots.”

I’ll be interviewing Beth Wallace of NWF tomorrow. Will update this soon.

6 Responses to “Keystone Pipeline: Is there an End-Run in the Works?”

  1. prokaryotes Says:

    That is exactly the image (of the bad boy) oil companies have…

  2. mrsircharles Says:

    Please keep us informed about appropriate action (petitions etc.). Thanks.

  3. Jean Mcmahon Says:

    We filed a suit in Oklahoma last week against the Corps of Engineers decision that everything was Ok to build the Keystone Xl thru the state.We had a Demo remembering the Kalamazoo spill and the non clean up today

  4. Jeremy Nathan Marks Says:

    I know Enbridge well. Up here in Canada they are pushing (with the slavish support of the Harper Government) the Northern Gateway Pipeline to be built from from Fort McMurray, Alberta through Northern British Columbia to the Pacific Coast.

    This pipeline is tied up in litigation because a coalition of First Nations and environmental organizations is suing Enbridge. And the Harper Government has spent the last six months plus, as you may be well aware, demonizing opponents of the pipeline. There have been a string of Conservative underlings in the cabinet and the Senate who have been attacking organizations like Forest Ethics and equating them with terrorists. This has been well documented in the media up here.

    Conservative back-benchers have even gotten into the act trying to make it illegal for environmental groups to fundraise outside of Canada (the Conservative MP from Fort McMurray introduced this bill). Imagine that! Foreign direct investment is just fine and multi-national oil companies are welcome but environmentalists should be forbidden to accept non-Canadian money!

  5. otter17 Says:

    She’s cute… and now Keystone is out of the picture… haha.

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