The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a corrective action order against Enbridge Energy. That order prohibits the resumption of operations on Pipeline 14 in Adams Co., Wisconsin until Enbridge submits a restart plan for PHMSA's approval.
"Pipelines operate safely across the country every single day. That's why accidents, like the one in Wisconsin, are absolutely unacceptable. I will soon meet with Enbridge's leadership team and they will need to demonstrate why they should be allowed to continue to operate this Wisconsin pipeline without either a significant overhaul or a complete replacement," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
PHMSA's corrective action order called the July 27, 2012 rupture of the 24-inch diameter line hazardous to life, property and the environment. Enbridge must submit a restart plan for the entire 467-mile pipeline segment to PHMSA for approval before operations may resume.
In addition to submitting a restart plan, Enbridge must also conduct mechanical and metallurgical testing and failure analysis of the failed pipe, evaluate previous inline inspection results and submit an integrity verification and remedial work plan. Enbridge is also required to bring in an independent evaluator to conduct an investigation of the company's integrity management plan.
In July 2010, Enbridge's Pipeline 6B ruptured and spilled over 840,000 gallons of crude oil near Marshall, Michigan. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the operator "failed to accurately assess the structural integrity of the pipeline." The investigation also found deficiencies with Enbridge's integrity management procedures, control room operations, leak detection, and overall response plan. PHMSA also proposed a record $3.7 million civil penalty and 24 actions against Enbridge for the spill.
Pipeline safety is a top priority at PHMSA. In April 2011, Secretary LaHood issued a Call to Action on pipeline safety, asking pipeline operators to replace and rehabilitate aging pipelines. PHMSA closed a record number of enforcement cases in 2011 and is collecting more data about pipelines and stepping up efforts to educate the public about staying safe around pipelines. The new Pipeline Safety Act gives PHMSA even more ways to hold pipeline operators accountable as well as the ability to issue civil penalties double that of previous statutory amounts for operators that violate pipeline safety laws.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air. Please visit http://phmsa.dot.gov for more information.