Enbridge Inc. has shot itself in both feet with its shambolic handling of the spill from its oil pipeline into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River two years ago. As a report from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board makes clear, the company was faced with a bad situation and made it worse by, among other things, waiting 17 hours before stopping the flow of oil.
The head of the agency handed opponents of pipelines and everything associated with them a precious gift by likening the company’s handling of the spill to the “Keystone Kops.” In this case the jibe seems well-deserved. Enbridge twice attempted to restart the flow in the decrepit pipeline after the spill, pumping an additional 840,000 gallons of diluted crude into the Kalamazoo. It failed to act on warnings that the line was corroded, and failed to enforce safety regulations.