The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration today announced that Enbridge Energy has met the requirements of last week's amended corrective action order and executed a consent agreement. These actions allow for the restart of Line 14 in Wisconsin.
"Communities across the country deserve to know that the pipelines running underneath their homes, streets and businesses are safe. That is why we are requiring Enbridge to commit to such a thorough safety plan," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "I have met with Enbridge leadership and told them they must ensure the safety of their pipelines in the Lakehead System. Going forward, I will be holding weekly meetings with my team to ensure Enbridge is complying with our safety requirements. "
Under PHMSA's consent agreement, Enbridge must meet a series of safety provisions for the 467-mile pipeline segment where the rupture occurred that will apply to the entire Lakehead Pipeline System. As a result of making these commitments, Enbridge has been given authority to restart its pipeline.
Provisions of the restart plan include the following:
Prior notification of emergency responders along the entire length of Line 14
Aerial patrol of the pipeline right of way during and after restart to inspect for leaks
Foot patrols of key areas, including pumping stations and valves
The line pressure will be restricted to 80 percent of the pressure used at the time of failure. Greater pressure cannot be used until the root cause of the failure is determined and adequate remedial actions are taken
"Pipeline accidents like this are rare, but when they happen we will act immediately to make sure that people and the environment are protected," said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. "PHMSA staff worked with Enbridge straight through the weekend and entered into a pipeline safety plan that encompasses every aspect of safety on the entire Lakehead System as well as ensuring a safe way to move forward with restarting Line 14. We will continue to keep the public updated as we take the next steps to address pipeline safety."
PHMSA issued a CAO following a July 27, 2012, pipeline accident involving the release of crude oil on Line 14 of the Lakehead System near Grand Marsh, Wisconsin. The agency prevented Enbridge from restarting Line 14 until repairs were made at the failure site. PHMSA also imposed a pressure restriction on Line 14, required additional testing and root cause analysis, and required the development and implementation of a long-term integrity verification of the Lakehead Pipeline System plan under the oversight of a third-party expert.
Pipeline safety is a top priority at PHMSA. In April 2011, Secretary LaHood issued a Call to Action on pipeline safety, asking 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 amounts.
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.