Thursday, January 29, 2015

County denies oil search permit

From today's Daily Telegram:

County denies oil search permit

A request to conduct a seismic survey to search for oil and gas reserves at Gerber Hill Park near Deerfield was turned down Monday by the Lenawee County Parks Commission.

“I think it’s inconsistent with a park and it’s inconsistent with Mr. Gerber’s wishes. I think we should say no,” said commission member Dan Bruggeman. He said Frank Gerber donated the property as a county park to preserve its vulnerable sand hill formation.

Cutting survey sight lines through wooded areas, driving a heavy tractor on the hill and setting off explosive charges used in the seismic testing could all damage the sensitive property, he said.

“I think we have an obligation to the Gerber family not to do this,” said county commissioner Cletus Smith, R-Madison Twp.

There is no obligation for the county to aid the search for oil and gas in the area, said commissioner Ralph Tillotson, R-Adrian Twp. The company can find another path to survey property in the area if the park is not available, he said.

My commentary:
The Lenawee County Parks Commission showed more integrity and courage than the City of Adrian did in the past when Savoy wanted to build their central processing facility (now on Witt Farm) in Heritage Park, which is - like the Gerner Hill Park - also a donation. It was only due to massive citizen protest - and the availability of the Witt Farm property - that Heritage Park is today only disgraced by a oil pump and not a large processing plant... 

The 2nd New Pipeline Crossing Through Lenawee County Is Coming....

Please attend the open house for the Nexus pipeline in Ohio, Adrian or Ypsilanti!

More Info:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph by Sybil Diccion from Morenci about the Keystone XL Pipeline

Opposing Keystone for the environment
To the editor,
The Bloomberg View editorial in Wednesday’s Telegram is advocating that Obama “OK the Keystone pipeline,” even though the Bloomberg writers admit that “Keystone will not create many jobs for the U.S., and its delivery of 830,000 barrels a day won’t keep the price of gasoline low.” Although I disagree with the initial premise, I was most pleased to read their confirmation that Keystone will NOT create many jobs nor lower our gasoline prices; both statistics being touted by proponents as the reasons Keystone SHOULD be approved. Neither are true and neither are my reasons for objection. My honest concerns deal with the environment.
I, as an aging senior, will probably never have to deal with the problems that are sure to occur should these types of projects be allowed to flourish. But it is what we are leaving our children and grandchildren to deal with that is so troubling.
Tar sands oil is a different animal from what we would recognize as petroleum. It’s a tarry, asphalt-like substance that contains more toxic elements such as arsenic, benzene, lead, mercury and toluene. It would be promising if Trans-Canada could guarantee that spills or leaks would never occur, but Phase I, alone, of the pipeline project spilled 12 times in the U.S. in its first year of operation, and Enbridge, another pipeline operator, suffered a spill of more than one million gallons in the Kalamazoo River in 2010. That cleanup has cost more than $1.2 billion and is still underway. To add insult to injury, none of the companies transporting heavy tar sands crude are required to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which pays for the costs of cleaning up a spill and ensures that taxpayers are not footing the bill.
Although only TC knows the exact route of the pipeline, it's certain that in addition to crossing some of the most important farm and ranch lands in the country, it would also cross one of the most vital freshwater sources in the nation, the Ogallala aquifer. The inability of pipeline alarm systems to quickly recognize a leak and alert pipeline operators makes every leak a potential if not actual disaster. “Industry leak detection systems missed 19 of 20 spills,” says NRDC's Anthony Swift. “And what's more concerning is, if you look at the data over the last 10 years, four out of five spills have been greater than 40,000 gallons.” Public Citizen reports dozens of problems with photos as proof of dents and poorly-welded seams in segments of KXL pipeline already laid in southern Texas. One whistleblower was fired for insisting that there be an investigation of the pipelines.
Even if I could be convinced that carbon emissions would not be increased, I still would object to the construction of the Keystone. I applaud any decisions made that would benefit the lives of those younger than I, but I do not believe that this pipeline is one of those beneficial decisions.
Sybil Diccion

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Officials worry about pipelines and the St. Clair River

According to the National Pipeline Mapping System, at least 13 transmission pipelines from nine companies are under the St. Clair River.

Officials worry about pipelines and the St. Clair River

More than four years have passed since a ruptured pipeline spilled an estimated 20,000 barrels of crude oil near Marshall.
The spill from Enbridge Energy's Line 6B spread for miles down Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River and launched a four-year cleanup effort.

While state and federal officials say they have systems in place to respond to a similar spill on the St. Clair River, the people on the ground here in St. Clair County aren't as confident.

"I hope it never happens," said Jeff Friedland, director for St. Clair County Emergency Management/Homeland Security. "But I do have concerns about the St. Clair River and pipelines."

With an 830-mile interstate natural gas pipeline [Rover is roughly 830 miles long] threatening to further snarl the maze of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines beneath the county, pipeline safety and planning for a spill are responsibilities shared by private companies and public entities at the local, state and federal levels.

"We've had some real-world experience with the Kalamazoo River, and there were some really good lessons learned from that," said Brad Wurfel, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
"You can't expect companies or industrial processes to run perfectly. You can expect that you're prepared when they don't."

Pipeline tally
Marysville Department of Public Safety Chief Tom Konik estimated about 24 transmission pipelines are beneath Marysville.

Those pipelines carry natural gas, propane and chemicals for industrial use.

He said the city has become a bottleneck for pipelines, likely because of its location.

"It's probably because of our proximity to Chemical Valley (in Ontario), where a lot of the products are coming into and out of," Konik said.

"The river is at one of its narrowest points here. When you have to do a drilling operation to put pipeline under the river, it seems like the most ideal spot."

Judy Palnau, spokeswoman for the Michigan Public Service Commission, said currently there are 14 companies operating pipelines in St. Clair County. Eight of the companies are natural gas transmission pipeline operators, and six are hazardous liquid pipeline operators.

She said each of those companies has varying numbers of pipelines through the county.

According to the National Pipeline Mapping System, at least 13 transmission pipelines from nine companies are under the St. Clair River.

Enbridge Energy has three pipelines -- one of which is deactivated -- that run under the St. Clair River. Semco Energy Gas Company has seven transmission lines in St. Clair County, none of which cross the St. Clair River. TransCanada has four pipelines, all of which tunnel under the river. Buckeye Development and Logistics LLC, has two pipelines that travel under the St. Clair River — one is idle, while the other carries propane.

Another pipeline project — the Rover pipeline — also would tunnel under the river. The proposed pipeline has not yet submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Vector Pipeline also is planning an expansion, but has not submitted applications to FERC yet.

General maps of where the existing pipelines are located are available to the public, but more precise information is off limits, according to Damon Hill, spokesman for the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
"After 9/11 we worked with the Department of Homeland Security where we were required to restrict the level of detail on our maps," Hill said. "The only way to get more detail is if you're government personnel or a pipeline operator."

St. Clair County is pipeline country
The promise of at least two new pipeline projects on the heels of a large Enbridge Energy pipeline replacement marks an increase noted throughout the country.

"There has been an increase in pipeline projects in certain parts of the country with the increase in energy resources being found, like shale gas," Hill said.

"There are new pipelines coming into existence to bring that product throughout the country."

Jennifer Smith, a spokeswoman for Enbridge Energy, said the company embarked on its replacement of its more than 50-year-old Line 6B after the spill into the Kalamazoo River called into question the reliability of the pipeline.

She said the company expanded the scope of the project to include counties farther east because of requests from clients for increased capacity.

"Our customers came to us and they said they needed us to be able to carry more crude oil," Smith said.
She said the pipeline runs through St. Clair County because of demand for oil in the area.
"Where your pipeline is is going to be determined by where the demand is," Smith said.
"Back in the day when these pipelines were built, the need was to bring oil further east. You're going to see crude oil pipelines where you have big refineries or chemical hubs."
DTE Energy is a partner in a planned 47-mile Vector Pipeline expansion project and a planned 250-mile NEXUS pipeline project. Both projects are natural gas lines.