Statements from Enbridge Daily News Briefing on Marshall, Michigan Pipeline Leak
Excerpt from Joint News Conference, 3 p.m. EST, July 31, 2010
Patrick Daniel, President & CEO
We’ve made good progress in the last 24 hours to clean up this spill. As I’ve said before, Enbridge has been part of this community for 41 years and we know that this has been a tremendously difficult situation for everyone in the community.
There is still a lot of work to do and it’s going to take time. We’re committed to doing this right – not only for our people who live and work here, but for their neighbors and everyone in this community.
All of the agencies have been outstanding in their cooperation and we greatly appreciate everything that has been done to help.
I’d like to address three main areas of concern:
- I indicated to you yesterday that we expected by the end of the day to expose the section of pipe that has leaked and we did that. We have now visually confirmed, as we had expected, that no oil has been coming from that pipe.
- We’ve also made good progress in cleaning up the spill. The sheen is steadily receding, we have a lot of boom on numerous sites, and we have a lot of work left to do.
- We are aggressively removing any remaining oil and at this point it is mainly sheen clean-up. This requires absorbent boom which we have heavily deployed.
Another 200 Enbridge people have arrived today and are joining the clean-up.
We have submitted our short term clean-up plan to the EPA and they are currently reviewing it. This is independent of the longer term work plan that was referred to earlier.
With regard to the EPA and the long term plan, it was returned to us just prior to this press conference. I can assure you that we will modify that plan until it meets every requirement of the EPA. I’ve given you that commitment from day one and I stick by that commitment. We will correct any and all deficiencies.
There is no oil or sheen on Morrow Lake. That was confirmed yesterday evening by both EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Governor Granholm. We deeply appreciate Administrator Jackson saying she is “very confident” that that no oil will reach Morrow Lake and beyond. We have done everything in our power to ensure that that never happens and we appreciate that confidence.
From this point on, I will not be discussing Morrow Lake unless there is a change in status. At this point we are focusing primarily on the work associated with the site and the clean-up on the river, but never lessening our extensive measures with regard to Morrow Lake.
As you may know, we have been working with the Red Cross. They have been maintaining a temporary shelter for people whose homes were affected. The Red Cross is closing that shelter because no one has used it to date and this is good news. We greatly appreciate the efforts from the Red Cross and they have been an excellent partner during this incident.
We have begun processing claims from people directly impacted by the incident. And we will provide more details as well on broader claims for property damage as we go forward.
I renew my commitment that we will make good to all any damage done by the incident. Our objective is to return this river to the same state that it was in prior to the incident.
Steve Wuori, Executive Vice President, Liquids Pipelines
I’ll start with the volumes recovered. EPA discussed the gross volumes recovered earlier. Our best estimate at this point is that of the total water oil mix, 7,000 to 8,000 barrels of oil have now been recovered.
In the past 48 hours, we have increased the number of boom sites to 28. We continue to add those as we go along. 59,000 to 60,000 feet of boom is now in place on the river.
There are now a total of 683 people working on the cleanup. That is increased from 222 people just two days ago.
On the river there are 76 vacuum trucks, 17 tanker trucks and 40 boats.
We now have 38 and one-half river miles upstream from Morrow Lake declared non-fire retardant zones. Fire retardant clothes are normally a necessity for worker safety. That means workers can conduct cleanup work in it their regular, white uniforms. So the river clean-up can now continue without any fear of flammable danger.
A question was asked about whether the pipe section where the failure occurred was within a high-consequence area.
That is a special designation by the federal government requiring supplementary actions in areas that are unusually environmentally sensitive, populated, or cross a navigable waterway.
To clarify, this section was in a populated area that qualifies as a high-consequence area.
All that means is that Enbridge was required to conduct extra inspections and risk-protection activities. We had done that as part of a written plan previously reviewed by the federal regulator.
I also want to mention that there is a special toll-free number for members of trade union members to see information about possible work opportunities in this response effort. They can call 1-888-489-3753.
Any other types of inquiries should be referred to the spill response hotline at 1-800-306-6387.