Monday, July 15, 2013

New Oil Pipeline to Cross MO

Kansas City, MO – A Canadian Energy company is getting ready to expand an oil pipeline from Illinois through Missouri and into Oklahoma. This week company officials will begin hosting open houses in Illinois and Missouri, and environmentalists and local officials say they have a lot of concerns. 

 The Canadian oil company that made headlines in 2010 for spilling 800 thousand barrels of tar sands oil into a Michigan river is now looking to run another line across Missouri. Enbridge Energy's Flanagan South project would expand an oil pipeline 600 miles southwest from Pontiac, Illinois, to Oklahoma. Tomorrow and Wednesday it will hold open houses in Archie and Marshall, Missouri. Danny Ferguson is on the City Council in nearby Adrian. He's concerned because the project expands some very old pipeline that crosses a river upstream from his city's drinking water.

  "It's really our only source of water. We just spent several million dollars upgrading our water plant and water lines, and so we take it pretty seriously that it's putting our water at risk."
  Ferguson says Enbridge has already moved acres of pipe into the area and set up offices in Archie. He's contacted the company to find out how it plans to protect the area drinking water, but he says he's been having trouble getting straight answers. Enbridge says the project will bring jobs to the area. Ferguson says he's not convinced that it's worth the risk.

 Ferguson says Enbridge officials started out answering his questions, but when the questions got harder, the answers stopped coming. So he contacted federal regulators.

"The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, they said, 'Oh, I'll have them contact you. You don't need to deal with the PR people, let me just put the company in touch with you.' He wrote me back the other day and said 'I hope they've been talking to you.' And I said, 'No they have not contacted me at all.'"

 Ferguson plans to continue the hard questions at the open house and urges area residents to do the same thing.

 Harry Alper with the Missouri Sierra Club agrees. He's looking for answers to such questions as: 'Does the company have a spill response plan on file locally?' And, 'What is in the oil that will be traveling through the pipeline?'

  "This is diluted bitumen, tar sands oil, which is a very heavy oil that thins out with compounds like hexane and benzene. And it's important that firefighters, emergency responders know what's in this when it does leak."

  Alper says when Enbridge tar sands oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, the oil sank to the bottom, and the E-P-A is still trying to clean it up. The company hand-out says it's committed to safe and reliable pipeline operation. It initially plans to pump 600 thousand barrels a day and eventually expand to 775 thousand barrels through eleven counties in Missouri.

Courtesy of KDKD.NET