LANSING – State Representatives Tom Cochran (Mason) and Kate Segal (Battle Creek) urged the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to closely watch Enbridge Energy’s repairs to pipleline 6B, which burst in 2010 and polluted the Kalamazoo River. The Michigan Public Service Commission is expected to approve Enbridge’s application to replace, construct and operate the crude oil and petroleum pipeline through Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Jackson, Ingham, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties.

“Enbridge has earned a bad reputation in our state by allowing its pipeline to spill onto Michigan’s soil and pollute our water for 18 hours before taking action to stop the massive spill,” Cochran said. “Enbridge spilled as much as a million gallons of oil, resulting in the evacuation of about 50 families and a $3.7 million fine from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Enbridge’s track record in Michigan has been literally disastrous.”

Under Republican leadership, environmental regulations have been relaxed in Michigan. Segal called that a mistake.

“When Enbridge completes this massive new project, they will have nearly tripled the capacity of their old pipeline without going through a comprehensive review process or completing critical environmental impact studies. They have rushed forward with this replacement line in a piecemeal fashion in order to circumvent federal reviews and standards,” Segal said. “Worse, Republicans in Lansing have passed laws that reduced state oversight of corporate cleanups and weakened polluter pay laws, and the Michigan Public Service Commission simply does not have the resources or power to sufficiently assess the project. This makes it harder to keep Michigan pure and clean. Rather than relaxing environmental regulations on corporations that pollute and fast-tracking projects for a company that has already irreparably damaged our pristine environment, we should be demanding tougher laws that hold big companies and special interests accountable.”