October 17, 2012 - Jason Manshum, a spokesperson for Enbridge, recently responded via e-mail to questions from The Citizen regarding the Line 6B petroleum pipeline replacement project. For previous stories on the controversial project that affects numerous communities in Michigan including Brandon and Groveland townships, go to www.thecitizenonline.com and search Enbridge.
What is the current status on phase 1 construction of the Line 6B replacement segments?
"Work has been underway for the Line 6B 2012 Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program at various locations since mid-July. Due to the segmented nature of the projects, different crews are working in various locations at the same time and will continue to do so. We expect to complete all planned 2012 work in Michigan by the end of the year."
Has work stopped in Brandon Township? Groveland Township? If so, what is the reason for the work stoppage?
"Work has temporarily stopped in Brandon Township in recognition of the township's concerns regarding tree removal. Enbridge made several offers to replant manageably sized, high quality trees in the temporary construction work space that the township has not yet accepted. Enbridge is attempting to amicably resolve the difference before resuming work. Work has not stopped in Groveland Township."
Brandon Township has postponed settlement with Enbridge regarding the woodlands ordinance and replacement of trees. Do you have a response to this delay? How long is your offer (to replace 70 trees per acre with various species in sizes of 6-12 feet) good for?
"Enbridge believes it is in the best interest of the residents of Brandon Township and the state of Michigan for this work to proceed. Construction of this scale cannot be reasonably and safely accomplished without clearing trees that are within the construction footprint. The Michigan Public Service Commission and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality have issued permits for the work to proceed. Enbridge has made two proposals to Brandon Township to replace trees to the fullest extent possible and the offers still stand."
How many trees will be taken out in Brandon Township with replacement of the pipeline?
"There are approximately 5.7 acres of temporary construction work space to be cleared. The density of trees and brush varies from location to location. The offers to replant should result in tree densities consistent with adjacent forested land."
Has Enbridge obtained all of the proper permits/authorizations from each community along the pipeline route? How many communities are there along the route and if you have not obtained all permits or met all ordinances, why not?
"The projects traverse numerous communities, which are listed in our MI-PSC applications that are posted on the agency's e-docket. Construction activities are not commenced until we have obtained all permits required to complete that work. We fully understand that local governments and communities have questions about these activities, and Enbridge is prepared to meet with any community that desires to address their questions."
What potential problems does Enbridge or residents along the pipeline route face because of delays in construction?
"Our goal is to have the projects completed by the end of 2012, so our focus is on completing the work safely and efficiently in accordance with all applicable permit conditions. In general, any delays would defeat the purpose of the MI-PSC-approved projects, which is to reduce the frequency of future integrity repairs in the affected pipeline segments."
Can construction proceed regardless of weather conditions?
"While the optimum construction season is the summer and fall, Enbridge is experienced in successfully completing pipeline construction projects in a wide variety of climates and seasons. We are committed to completing all Line 6B replacement work that is approved by the MPSC, as we believe it is in the public interest to expediently move forward using the latest technology, design, materials and operating standards that will provide secure and reliable energy transportation to meet Michigan's needs."
Are there any immediate concerns with the integrity of the original Line 6B pipeline?
"No. The pipeline is operated under Enbridge's ongoing integrity (maintenance) management program in accordance with all applicable federal regulations."
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville