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Summary of the Subject Matter

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (Committee), Chairman James Oberstar, held a hearing today to receive testimony on the recent Enbridge pipeline failure in Marshall, Michigan. The failure resulted in the release of an estimated one million gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. The Kalamazoo River flows into Lake Michigan. On August 25, 2010, Enbridge estimated that the total cost of damages to the operator will be between $300 and $400 million. These charges include emergency response, environmental remediation and cleanup activities associated with the crude oil release, costs to repair the pipeline and related inspection costs, potential claims by third parties, and lost revenue.

Line 6B originates in Griffith, Indiana, and runs eastward to Sarnia, Ontario. The pipeline is a 30-inch, carbon steel pipeline that was constructed in 1969 using Normal Pipe Size 30, grade X52, 0.250-inch nominal wall thickness pipe. About one-third of the pipe was manufactured using a Flash Weld process, while the other two-thirds used a Double Submerged Arc Weld (DSAW) process. The pipe at the location of the failure was DSAW and was manufactured by Italsider/Siderius in Italy. The pipe was coated in the field using then-commonly used polyethylene tape as a corrosion barrier. Line 6B transports up to 190,000 barrels of light synthetic, medium, and heavy crude oil per day from Griffith, Indiana, to Sarnia, Ontario.

Although the hearing is focused on the Enbridge rupture in Michigan, Members were advised that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will be able to answer questions at the hearing related to the September 9, 2010 Enbridge release of crude oil on Line 6A in Romeoville, Illinois, and the deadly September 9, 2010 Pacific Gas & Electric natural gas explosion in San Bruno, California, as well as Federal oversight of gas and hazardous liquid pipeline safety.

Panel 1

Mrs. Debra Miller
Mrs. Susan Connolly
Ms. Michelle BarlondSmith
Mrs. Darla Thorpe
Mr. Andy Buchsbaum

Panel 2

The Honorable Deborah Hersman
The Honorable John D. Porcari
The Honorable Lisa Jackson
Mr. Scott Matsen
Ms. Kelli D. Scott

Panel 3

Mr. Patrick Daniel