A recent investigation documents how Enbridge lobbied Canada's pipeline regulators (National Energy Board) to remove the most damning conclusions from its 2015 pipeline safety audit. The National Observer, a Canadian investigative journal, published an article titled Pipeline watchdog hid evidence of secret Enbridge reports, focusing on a 2015 National Energy Board (NEB) audit of Enbridge Energy (a Canadian company). The audit states Enbridge violated a number of pipeline safety rules, and inadequately addressed public safety concerns. The NEB changed their final report in response to Enbridge demands for the removal of the most critical assessments. Of the changes cited by the National Observer, is the removal of 4 paragraphs describing Enbridge’s failure to adequately address pipeline corrosion fatigue.
The NEB withholding this information, at the request of Enbridge, is scandalous - if not criminal. Former Exxon pipeline engineer Don Deaver explains, the “disappearing paragraphs show that the NEB was hiding some inconvenient truth about the pipeline industry: Enbridge is struggling to figure out how to stop leaks on aging pipelines, and officials still don't know the best way to completely clean up after a catastrophic spill…“ Without public knowledge of the NEB’s full assessment, our communities and ecosystems are placed at risk while Enbridge maintains current business practices without proper scrutiny.
Currently, Minnesotans face a number of proposed pipeline projects from Enbridge, including the Sandpiper Pipeline project. Construction will depend on an environmental impact statement (EIS) managed by Minnesota’s Department of Commerce/Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The decision to grant oversight of the EIS to the Department of Commerce (DOC), an agency unqualified for conducting environmental assessments, and not Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency has stirred controversy. The decision raises the question, will the EIS be another government report influenced by, and edited in favor of Enbridge? Perhaps no truer words have been spoken than those of First Nations Chief Na’Moks with regard to indigenous land rights and the people threatened by pipeline expansion, “the constitution says that we’re right, human nature says that we’re right - and they won’t accept it because industry and money is steering our government.”