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Letter: What is 99.993 percent?

In the Feb. 12, 2014 edition of the Park Rapids Enterprise, Enbridge touted its safety record of 99.9993 percent. It claims it is a grade that would make any parent proud, an unheard of sale on women’s shoes, or a pretty good hand sanitizer. And I admit that number appears to be reassuring. But let’s take a closer look at what the number actually means as relates to transporting fluids.

On Enbridges’s website, they claim they transport and deliver 2.2 million barrels per day of oil and liquids. Using the 99.9993 percent figure reveals that 647 gallons per day is leaked from the pipeline system. That projects to a leakage of 236,000 gallons per year or 2.36 million gallons over a ten-year period.

Enbridge would like you to believe there is virtually no risk in transporting crude oil through Hubbard County but using their own numbers proves otherwise. If Enbridge can be so disingenuous about their safety record as to brandish such misleading statistics in the newspaper ads, it might give us all pause to reconsider the actual risks associated with this crude oil pipeline. Enbridge has actually self-incriminated their own company by revealing this dismal record. The approval of this pipeline project needs much more careful consideration. Do we want Enbridge to jeopardize the environment of northern Minnesota to pad their bottom line?

In a related matter, Enbridge has not been forthcoming as to the ultimate destination of the crude they are proposing to pipe through Minnesota. The Public Utilities Commission has required Enbridge to provide that information, but to date, it has not been provided. Why would Enbridge not provide that information? Could it be the oil is destined for foreign markets? Should we be allowing Enbridge to risk our precious natural resources and health for the benefit of foreign markets?

The Public Utilities Commission will have a public meeting about the pipeline application in Park Rapids on March 12 at the Park Rapids Armory from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is your opportunity to voice your opinion.

Lowell Schellack

Park Rapids