Enbridge Energy, the firm behind a pipeline leak in Michigan that dumped more than 800,000 gallons of oil in a rural creek over the weekend, has had leaks in Minnesota 11 times since 2002, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (pdf). The data – which doesn’t count spills from trucks, generators, fires and explosions at refineries or gas stations – was provided to the media by Minnesota environmental groups who this morning are releasing the National Wildlife Federation’s new study, “Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit.” It underscores that oil spills aren’t just limited to the Gulf of Mexico – or Michigan, which is a point environmental advocates will make at a 10:30 a.m. press conference in Edina.
The DOT data shows that around 8,000 gross barrels of oil were spilled by Enbridge. Overall, Minnesota saw 57 pipeline spills between 2000 and 2009, “or one every other month for ten years on average,” according to a statement by organizers of the press conference. Property damage for all spills statewide surpasses $36 million.
Gary Botzek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Conservation Federation, a NWF affiliate, will be joined at this morning’s event by Edina resident and homeowner Justin Barrow, who lives near the site of a diesel spill on Saturday Saturday, in which diesel oil spilled from a generator directly into Minnehaha Creek. Also speaking is Chris Cox of the Pew Environment Group.
The Enbridge pipeline leak, as our sister site the Michigan Messenger reports, has dumped well over 19,000 barrels of oil, making it that state’s – and likely the midwest’s – worst spill ever. In Minnesota, that company’s spills – which are attributed to factors including equipment failure, damage from natural disasters or operator error – caused more than $12 million in property damage, according to the report.