Enbridge’s B.C. Oil Cleanup Plans Challenged after Michigan Oil Spill Video Surfaces

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Nikki Skuce: 778-210-0117

Enbridge’s B.C. Oil Cleanup Plans Challenged after Michigan Oil Spill Video Surfaces

WASHINGTON - Smithers, BC - Enbridge has submitted a new spill response plan for its proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, but B.C. groups say a recently released video of Enbridge's Michigan oil spill clean up shows that the company cannot be trusted.

Enbridge Oil Spill Coverup in Michigan from mike bonanno on Vimeo.

In the video, a former member of Enbridge's oil spill cleanup crew shows areas where workers were ordered to hide spilled oil by covering it with leaves and grass.

"Is this what we could expect if Enbridge spilled oil across the Skeena? Dead salmon, spoiled land and instructions to just hide the oil when their insurance money runs out?" said Shannon McPhail, executive director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition.

Enbridge recently submitted an oil spill cleanup plan to the federal Joint Review Panel assessing the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The plan includes "natural recovery" (leaving oil in the environment) as well as the use of booms and chemical dispersants similar to the ones used in the BP oil spill. There is no reference to how long it would take to respond to spills in remote areas. The company has promised a more detailed plan, but only six months before pipeline construction begins.

"This latest document reinforces the fact that Enbridge is not prepared to deal with oil spills in our region," said Nikki Skuce with ForestEthics. "The approaches listed are either ineffective in certain weather conditions, or come with their own serious environmental risks."

View the Michigan video >>

"Furthermore, Enbridge's irresponsible behavior in Michigan shows it can't be trusted to protect the interests of residents and act in good faith," Skuce added. "This is not the kind of company we want in Northwest B.C."

Michigan resident John Bolenbaugh was hired as an oil spill clean-up worker for $2,300/week in his hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan where Enbridge spilled over 3 million litres of oil last summer. Enbridge fired him after he refused to cover up the oil, and has actively obstructed his efforts to uncover the truth about Enbridge's oil cleanup.

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Founded in 2000, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization with staff in Canada, the United States and C­hile. Our mission is to protect Endangered Forests and wild places, wildlife, and human wellbeing--one of our focus areas is climate change, which compromises all of our efforts if left unchecked. We catalyze environmental leadership among industry, governments and communities by running hard-hitting and highly effective campaigns that leverage public dialogue and pressure to achieve our goals.

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