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Enbridge pipeline phase II

Board OKs consent agreement, new line to be purged

July 03, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- The replacement of Enbridge's Line 6B oil pipeline that runs through this township drew a lot of questions, complaints and controversy last year, but ultimately ended in the company gaining consent to finish phase 1.

Winter and most of spring were quiet here in regards to the pipeline, but as the company completes the work begun last year, get ready for more noise. The company is preparing to purge the new line soon, which Supervisor Kathy Thurman said will be "very loud."

Additionally, at their July 1 meeting, the township board cleared the way for work to begin on phase 2 of the pipeline, with approval of a consent agreement— albeit with some stipulations. The vote was unanimous.

"We haven't received any permits yet, so we won't execute the document until those are received, along with applicable fees," said Thurman.

Phase 2 of the Enbridge project in the township covers about three miles, from a planned Cook Trail pump station to the corner of Granger and Baldwin roads. The pump station is not part of the approved consent agreement.

"Our position is that they require site approval and consent for special use (regarding the pump station)," said Thurman.

Enbridge has proposed a 40-foot high pump station. The township ordinance allows only for 35-foot high structures. The township does not have equipment that will reach a roof that high. Enbridge will be required to get site plan approval and a special use permit from the township planning commission for the pump station.

Also not discussed for phase 2 was a woodlands agreement, which ended up being an integral part of consent for phase 1.

Enbridge announced plans in late 2011 to replace the Line 6B petroleum pipeline, a project that spans 210 miles in total, from Griffith, Ind. to Sarnia, Ont. The project involves installing all new pipeline alongside the existing pipeline (which will be deactivated and capped). Construction began last year on the first phase of the project, which included 3 miles of pipeline in Groveland Township and 3 miles in Brandon Township.

However, Enbridge encountered resistance in Brandon when the multi-billion dollar company failed to obtain proper permits and violated township ordinances. Enbridge was responsible for one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history, the 2010 Marshall, Mich. disaster in which 1 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River from a ruptured pipeline. For most of 2012, township officials challenged Enbridge plans after their requests for higher safety standards went unheeded and even approved court action before the company finally met legal requirements in December.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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