IEN REPORT FROM THE FRONT LINES by Marty Cobenais
Viking, MN – The small northern western Minnesota town of approximately100 people was the site of the latest Alberta Canada tar sands pipeline oil spill. Enbridge Energy made the initial report that 600 gallons (15 barrels) of oil was released at the Viking Station, from line 67. This is also known as the Alberta Clipper pipeline, which was completed in 2011. Enbridge is currently seeking permission to increase the amount of oil from 450,000 barrels to 570,000 barrels per day, but was added another application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to increase the flow to the maximum of 880,000 barrels. This is the same diameter of pipeline the TransCanada Keystone XL, 800,000 barrels per day, which is under great scrutiny in its Presidential Permit application.
An Enbridge official on the scene stated that the leak was detected by workers doing maintenance. The official said the workers smelled oil and upon inspection, they discovered the leak. The leak was determined to be at a “Transmitter”. The transmitter is the unit that measures the amount of pressure in the pipeline. This leak was small enough to not signal the main terminal that there was a leak. The transmitter is at the end of a 2-inch pipe that is screwed into the main pipeline. The Enbridge employee stated that the leak was in the threads. He stated that it was Line 2 and not Line 67, but after further questions as to other parts he was unsure of what pipelines locations were.
When we arrived at the scene today, we saw 6 containers covered by black tarps, we learned from the Enbridge Employee that they removed 100 cubic yards of soil and rocks. The Enbridge Employee stated that the leak had been fixed and confirmed that the line was shut off until the clean up was completed. He stated that the clean up should be completed by early next week, but that it depended on the amount of moisture the area gets over the weekend. We saw no visible oil on the ground, but there was a hole near a shut off value and he confirmed that is where the leak occurred.
Contact: Marty Cobenais, (218) 760-0284, firstname.lastname@example.org