Although there is already a pipe traversing almost every one of the properties involved, an additional pipe is required after the Enbridge failure at the Kalamazoo River. This situation has simply been found unacceptable by many owners.
Crude oil is much harsher on metal pipe and the surroundings and more likely to leak. This offers a special problem to those around the pipe.
Last month, a judge signed a condemnation order granting Enbridge a pipeline easement on 3.5 acres of Carol Brimhall’s 38-acre property off of M-52 near Stockbridge. Brimhall currently has two pipelines running underneath her property, and the replacement pipeline would make a third. Enbridge officials say the current 6B oil pipeline would be shut off and filled with nitrogen, and that the 6B replacement would serve as an artery for Enbridge oil to be pumped between Griffith, Indiana and Ontario, Canada.
Brimhall says installing the new pipeline will destroy 85 feet of her hardwood forest, and possibly put her animals, remaining farmland and wetlands in danger.
"It’s just going to be gone," said Brimhall. "And what am I supposed to so about it? Nothing. There is nothing left to do. They have it, and that’s that. They took it from me."
Enbridge was ordered to pay Brimhall $11,872 for just compensation, but Brimhall says she has refused their payment. "It’s not about the money," she said. "We just don’t understand how this can happen." Brimhall said she and her husband have spent more than $50,000 of their own money moving trees off of the easement and building a fence for her farm animals in an effort to protect their property.
While residents directly affected by the pipeline replacement, officials for Enbridge insist they are doing the right thing. "It’s already been approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission, and they found after reviewing it for a couple of months that the replacements of some pipeline segments would be in the public interest and need, and they approved the project accordingly," said Joe Martucci. Editor’s note: Joe Martucci was an Enbridge spokesperson at the time of interview, but has since moved on to another role.