Tuesday, March 14, 2017

250 Protestors Demand Enbridge Pipeline Shutdown Over Fears of Great Lakes Oil Spill

David Holtz, Chair of the Sierra Club - Michigan Chapter (2nd from left)

Officials from Enbridge Energy Partners insisted on the structural safety of its 64-year-old pipelines that passes under the Straits of Mackinac even though a company-commissioned study found that the lines' protective coating has deteriorated in some areas.
"I believe this pipeline is in as good of condition as it was on the day it was installed," Enbridge's director of integrity programs Kurt Baraniecki said at a Pipeline Safety Advisory Board meeting in Lansing, Michigan on Monday.
But the 250 protestors who showed up to the meeting responded to the comments with "derisive howls and laughter," the Detroit Free Press reported.

More ...

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rover Pipeline Opposition Demands FERC Inquiry Into Bait-and-Switch Compressor Engine Decision

March 13, 2017
Nancy Shiffler, Michigan Sierra Club, 734-971-1157, nshiffler@comcast.net 
Lea Harper, (419) 450-7042, wewantcleanwater@gmail.com, www.FWAP.org
Terry Lodge, (419) 205-7084, lodgelaw@yahoo.com
The Sierra Club and Freshwater Accountability Project, parties to the E.T. Rover gas mega-pipeline licensing case, have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to require the company to install turbine instead of reciprocating engines in each of the planned nine compressor pump stations along the route.

In a letter to FERC, the groups cited a commitment to use turbines which appears in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”) for Rover. A citizen watchdog, who is also a professional engineer, found the “bait and switch” and brought the concerns forward for investigation by FERC.

The use of turbines was designated to avoid causing an irritating “pulsing” vibration to emanate from the compressor stations, which is admittedly very distracting to nearby residents.  The staff of FERC wrote the FEIS, and the groups maintain that the assurance of turbine use at the compressor statements is a legally-enforceable condition which cannot be abandoned within the permit that was subsequently granted by the FERC Commissioners.

“The FERC Commissioners met and voted on February 2, 2017 that the Environmental Impact Statement adequately reduces environmental harms, including the pulsing vibrations from compressors,” said Leatra Harper, intervenor to the case as Managing Director or Freshwater Accountability Project. “That should have legally locked in the use of turbines, but instead, the Commissioners approved reciprocating engines and offered no explanation for the switch.”  Besides being noisier, reciprocating engines are also more polluting because they are less efficient, and are likely less expensive as well.

Rover has obtained Ohio Environmental Protection Agency permission to install reciprocating engines in all nine planned compressor stations. “We believe that Rover must be held to the FEIS commitment under NEPA regulations, and that only in the rarest of circumstances (none of which are present here) should any change to that commitment be allowed,” commented Terry Lodge, attorney for the FreshWater Accountability Project. “If the FERC decision is not corrected, we will seek to block construction of any of the compressor stations until this disagreement is resolved.” 

Rover has already been found in non-compliance with regulations by FERC and was sanctioned when the company caused the demolition of the historic Stoneman House in eastern Ohio, which apparently held up FERC approval of the pipeline’s certificate for months.

A copy of the complaint letter sent to FERC can be found here:


Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Tsuga’s View: Part 5

A Long-Term Look At Environmental, Political, and Social Issues, From The Perspective Of Michigan’s Oldest (and Most Optimistic) Tree Species

By Marvin Roberson

OK. He’s here. President Trump. And it’s bad. Really bad. Worse than any of us expected. Things are going to get worse. Good policies are going to be dismantled. People are going to be discriminated against, they are going to be hurt, and they are going to die. No two ways about it.

I’ve had folks point this out to me, and claim that it contradicts my claim that from the Tsuga’s View, things are getting better overall. I stand by that analysis, even in the face of all of the above.

Remember - the Tsuga’s View is the long view - not a reaction to the immediate events of the day, no matter how disheartening or damaging. And the fact is, while progressive ideals lost the election, we won the vote.

Consider - 3 million more people voted for Clinton than Trump. More people voted for Democratic Senate candidates than voted for Republicans. While the Democrats did not take the Senate, as we had hoped, they gained, not lost, seats. And in fact, Trump won Florida by less votes than the number of people who wrote in “Mickey Mouse”, or other nonsense votes.

The way I have described this situation, is that the Conservative tide is going out, even if we get knocked down by some of the remaining waves.

As I said in an earlier edition of the Tsuga’s View, the fact that the Right has progress to attack means that there has been progress. After eight years of excoriating Obamacare, the Right is discovering that American citizens, even the ones that voted Republican, actually don’t want it repealed.

Look - in the long run, we’ve made huge progress. We will continue to do so. When we get knocked down by the remaining incoming waves, we’re not drowning - we’re claiming the beach left by the receding Conservative tide.

Buck up - it’s awful now, but it’s been awful before (think McCarthy, Nixon, etc). And in the long run, the Tsuga’s View is that we have, and will continue, to prevail.

In the next installment of “The Tsuga’s View”, I explain why sitting in front of a television for much of my youth reflects progress.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Enbridge denies own report noting Straits oil pipeline losing coating

Officials with Canadian oil transport corporation Enbridge on Thursday denied reports that the company's twin, underwater, 64-year-old oil and natural gas pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac are losing their protective coating.
A work plan filed by Enbridge with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last September, now available on the company's website, references areas of "holidays," the oil and gas industry term for open areas on pipelines where anticorrosion protective coating has fallen off or is missing on the underwater portions of Line 5.