Enbridge Energy officials will to meet tonight with people in Marshall to lay out their plans for a new oil pipeline.
Two years ago, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Marshall, leaking more than 800 thousand gallons of crude oil. Only last week, state and federal officials announced the reopening of most of the Kalamazoo River, which has been closed to the public so crews could clean up the oil spill.
Now, Enbridge wants to replace the old pipeline with a larger one that will carry more Canadian tar sands crude oil. The new pipeline will be capable of carrying 500 thousand barrels of crude oil a day. The old pipeline had a capacity of 450 thousand barrels a day. But since the repairs that return pipeline ‘6B’ to service after the 2010 break, the pipeline has been operating well below its original capacity.
Joe Martucci is an Enbridge project spokesman. He says there is growing demand for Canadian tar sands crude oil. To meet that demand, Martucci says a higher volume pipeline is needed.
Martucci says they have been talking with property owners along the new pipeline’s route.
“Generally the reception has been fairly positive in terms of understanding the need for the project,” says Martucci.
The Michigan Public Service Commission must give its approval for the new pipeline. The commission isn’t expected to make a decision until sometime late this year or early next year.
Martucci says if the approval comes the new pipeline could be online by the fall of 2013.