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Friday, September 16, 2011

Enbridge to abandon 75 miles of the oil pipeline that contaminated the Kalamazoo River

Noel Griese of the Energy Pipeline News is reporting that Enbridge Energy Partners plans to replace 75 miles of pipeline in Michigan and Indiana related to the July, 2010 spill into the Kalamazoo River.  The Michigan Public Service Commission will be holding public hearings into the proposal, beginning with a pre-hearing conference on September 21.  Read Griese's article at: Energy Pipeline News.

The original announcement was made on May 12 in Houston:

HOUSTON, TX, May 12, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --

Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: EEP) (the "Partnership") today announced additional capital investments to replace portions of its Line 6B pipeline system that spans from Griffith, Indiana, through Michigan to the international border at the St. Clair River. This program will include replacement of approximately 75 miles of the pipeline in various locations in Indiana and Michigan, at an estimated cost of $286 million. These costs will be recovered through the Facilities Surcharge Mechanism ("FSM") that is part of the system-wide rates of the Lakehead system.

Earlier this year, the Partnership completed the replacement of 14 segments, totaling 9,000 feet, of Line 6B in southeastern Michigan and installed a new segment of pipeline under the St. Clair River, which will be operational by late June. This latest investment includes the replacement of five miles of pipeline immediately downstream of two pump stations in Indiana and three pump stations in Michigan as well as replacement of 50 miles of pipeline downstream of the Stockbridge station and delivery terminal northwest of the Detroit metro area. Subject to regulatory approvals, the new segments of pipeline will be installed in 2012 and will be staged to be placed in-service in consultation with, and to minimize impact to, refiners and shippers served by Line 6B crude oil deliveries.

The $286 million expenditures are in addition to the $210 million integrity expenditures on Line 6B recently announced by the Partnership for the year 2011, of which $175 million will be recovered through the FSM.

In actual fact, Enbridge is proposing to construct a new pipeline alongside the existing pipeline in a new 25 foot wide right-of-way.  Enbridge will abandon the existing pipeline in place, saying that this will "minimize additional disturbance along the route".  Enbridge has provided responses on its website to "frequently asked questions" for affected landowners, including questions about construction, disturbance and compensation: Frequently Asked Questions.