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Letter: ‘Funny things’ about Enbridge

Here they go again. Trying to buy us off. Enbridge figures they can trot into our county, start spending money and they’ll get what they want. Another big ad in the paper pretending we’ve never heard of them. Apparently they don’t think we can read. Or we’re too busy hunting and fishing to pay attention to the news. Apparently they don’t think we know folks, family and friends who might be living elsewhere, like Michigan.

Ask the folks in Michigan about Enbridge. Tragically they know Enbridge far too well, especially in the Kalamazoo area. Back in 2010 Enbridge’s incompetence allowed over 800,000 gallons of noxious tar sands oil, called dilbit, to spill into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River.

Side note: tar sands oil from Alberta is more like asphalt or bitumen. In order to pump it through a pipe Enbridge has to dilute it with other chemicals, hence “dilbit”. One of those chemicals is benzene, a known carcinogen.

News flash: Enbridge just revealed plans to build a sister pipeline alongside the Sandpiper pipeline in Hubbard County to transport dilbit.

Funny thing about dilbit, after awhile the diluents evaporate and the bitumen sinks. We’ve all seen those photos and videos from oil spills with big, gooey floating masses of oil fouling beaches, boats, plants, animals and birds. It’s always the birds that look the worst. Don’t forget the people who live near or clean up the mess, those people who later have all kinds of weird health complications. Well, after covering people’s yards and riverbanks with sticky goo, that 800,000 gallons of dilbit sank to the bottom of the Kalamazoo River and was carried downstream for over 35 miles. 35 miles! That’s Park Rapids to Wadena.

Families along the Kalamazoo River got sick, got evacuated, and over a 150 families had to permanently leave their homes and businesses. The river was closed for over 2 years. Here’s the worst part. Enbridge worked on the clean up awhile, then said, “Good enough.” “Hold on, wait just one minute. We don’t think so!” said the EPA.

That’s right. This company that professes safety, responsibility and integrity was forced by the EPA to stay on the Kalamazoo to finish the job. The EPA estimated last summer that about 180,000 gallons of oil are yet to be removed from the river. Michigan officials say it may be 2018 before the river is clean again.

No big ads about that story. Funny thing - guess they don’t want us to know about it and to consider what might happen to our lands and waters in Hubbard County.

Another funny thing, Bakken oil, which Enbridge says will be in the Sandpiper pipeline, floats. Think about a spill on Hay Creek north of town. From Hay Creek downstream through Island, Eagle, Potato and Fishhook Lakes then under the Red Bridge is what, maybe 10-12 miles. Someone once said of the pipeline, “Well, at least it’s not going right through town.” Maybe not, but its oil might be floating through town on the river someday.

Funny thing.


Richard Smith

Park Rapids