Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Enbridge's Aging Tar Sands Pipelines Beneath Great Lakes Are 'A Ticking Time Bomb'

Energy
Enbridge's Aging Tar Sands Pipelines Beneath Great Lakes Are 'A Ticking Time Bomb'

The Straits of Mackinac is a narrow waterway that separates Michigan's lower peninsula from its upper peninsula. The straights connect two of the Great Lakes: Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. But underneath this iconic part of the Great Lakes are two 62-year old pipelines.

The pipelines have never been replaced, despite the well-documented risk of a rupture. "If just one of the pipelines ruptured, it would result in a spill of 1.5 million gallons of oil—and that’s if Enbridge, the company that owns them, is able to fix the pipeline immediately," says Motherboard. “I can’t imagine another place in the Great Lakes where it’d be more devastating to have an oil spill, University of Michigan research scientist Dave Schwab told Motherboard.

Enbridge does not have a good record when it comes to spills either. It's responsible for more than 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, totaling 6.8 million gallons of spilled oil. And in 2010, it spilled more than 800,000 gallons into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan—creating the biggest inland oil spill in the country's history. It did not receive as much national attention because the country was fixated on another oil spill: the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Enbridge maintains that the pipeline, which was only supposed to last 50 years, is still in working order. Others beg to differ. After nearly two years of pressing Enbridge and pipeline regulators to release information about the integrity of the pipelines, the National Wildlife Federation was finally fed up and conducted its own diving expedition to survey them in 2013. Their footage revealed "some original supports broken away—indicating the presence of corrosion—and some sections of the suspended pipelines covered in large piles of unknown debris."

Last month, Motherboard correspondent Spencer Chumbley went to Michigan to investigate. Watch here to find out what he discovered:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

AP Exclusive: Fracking Boom Responsible for 175 Million Gallons of Toxic Wastewater Spilled Since 2009

Powerful New Film Captures Big Coal’s Enduring Trauma

Arctic Reality: If We Want to Limit Global Warming We Cannot Drill for Oil in the Chukchi Sea

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about climate change issues in the State Dining Room of the White House on January 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker-Pool / Getty Images

President Joe Biden signed a sweeping executive order Wednesday to address the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Area bordering Kaxarari Indigenous territory in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, in August, 2020. Christian Braga / Greenpeace
Tropical forests are guardians against runaway climate change, but their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is wearing down. The Amazon, which accounts for more than half of the world's rainforest cover, is on the verge of turning into a carbon source.
Read More Show Less

Trending

New EU rules could ban the vegan industry from even referencing anything dairy-like or using packaging associated with dairy products. sergeyryzhov / Getty Images

What's in a name? Apparently, a lot. According to the European Union (EU), plant-based, dairy alternatives commonly referred to as almond milk or vegan cheese cannot be marketed as such. New, stricter rules under consideration this week could ban the vegan products from even referencing anything dairy-like or using packaging associated with the dairy industry.

Read More Show Less
A dementia patient with her guide spends the day at an alpaca farm as therapy in the village of Krukow on April 20, 2017 near Geesthacht, Germany. Morris MacMatzen / Getty Images

Therapeutic riding as occupational therapy, dogs visiting children with learning disabilities in school or hens spending time with seniors in elderly homes – so called animal-assisted interventions are manifold.

Read More Show Less
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less