"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
In 1999 Enbridge was among the first pipeline operators to bring Canadian dilbit into the United States. Every day, more than 11.3 million gallons of Canadian oil is transferred to 6B at Enbridge's terminal in Griffith, Ind., and pumped across southern Michigan, to Sarnia, in the province of Ontario, Canada. From Sarnia, it is transferred to lines that connect to refineries near Detroit and surrounding markets. On the day of the spill, 6B was moving a mixture of two types of dilbit—about one-quarter Western Canadian Select and three-quarters Cold Lake.That defect, at mile marker 608, was detected at least three times before the pipeline ruptured, in 2005, 2007 and 2009, according to documents Enbridge filed with PHMSA over the years. But each time, Enbridge decided it wasn't significant enough to require repairs within 180 days.In a control room 1,500 miles away in Edmonton, Alberta, Enbridge was stopping the pumps on 6B as part of a scheduled, 10-hour shutdown. The company was waiting for more oil to fill storage tanks at the start of 6B in Griffith, Ind., so a full shipment could accumulate before pumping resumed.The 175-mile Kalamazoo River is a treasured recreational area. After the federal Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, paper mills, wastewater treatment plants and other polluters had been forced to rein in their once-deadly discharges. Some stretches were so pristine that canoe paddlers could feel transported back to the 18th or 19th century. If rivers had personalities, Wesley, the fish expert, would have classified the pre-spill Kalamazoo as "natural and wild." In 2000, he and a team of scientists had documented it as home to 102 species of fish, 23 species of mussels and clams, 218 species of birds, 40 species of mammals and 40 types of amphibians and reptiles.