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Enbridge completes work on final stretch of replacement oil pipeline

Sep 22, 2014

Enbridge Energy has finished laying its new oil pipeline across Michigan as part of its $1.3 billion pipeline replacement project.

Much of the new pipeline was put in the ground near the old pipeline. That old line broke in 2010, spilling more than 800,000 gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. The company is just finishing cleanup work four years after that spill.

Line 6B crosses Michigan.
Credit Enbridge

The company finished laying the new section of pipeline in St. Clair County and is taking the old Line 6B pipeline offline there.

Jason Manshum of Enbridge says they'll start working on purging the oil out of the old pipeline tomorrow. After that, he says, the old line will be filled with nitrogen and capped.

Manshum says they expect oil to be flowing through the completed new Line 6B pipeline by October 1, 2014.

Enbridge has been criticized for treating homeowners poorly in its replacement project process, and they have had protesters attempt to stop parts of the project.

Manshum told the Port Huron Times Herald that the experience has been different for Enbridge in St. Clair County:

Manshum said the replacement in St. Clair County has been smooth compared to other spots along the replacement route through Michigan.

"There have been individuals or groups of people that have voiced their opposition to either the project or the industry," Manshum said, adding that in a few instances the opposition has become a threat to the safety of the protesters or Enbridge crew members.

"We've unfortunately experienced that in a few places along our Line 6B replacement project, but not in St. Clair County that I can recall at this time."

The new pipeline will allow Enbridge to increase the amount of Canadian tar sands crude oil being pumped to refineries in Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario.

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