NEWS RELEASE · 3rd September 2010
Pipe Up Against Enbridge
Enbridge’s Michele Perret and Kevin Brown presented to Smithers Town Council on August 24, 2010, and got a bit of a surprise.
The gallery was packed with over 50 members of the public in attendance, with protesters outside dressed as oil spill cleanup workers handing out leaflets, and members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation on hand with large banners.
Many expected Perret to spend some time explaining what caused Enbridge’s massive oil spill in Michigan last month, but her presentation was extremely short and lacking in detail. As for the Michigan spill, she admitted Enbridge had what she called a leak, that they had turned off the pipeline “immediately”, and that they were cleaning it up. Then she went on at length about the jobs cleaning up the oil spill, and the jobs that Northern Gateway would create.
Partway through her presentation, Perret sounded a bit like former BP CEO Tony Hayward when she noted that tragically her holidays were supposed to have started on the same day the Michigan spill occurred. (Among Hayward’s many blunders was his infamous offhand statement that, “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I’d like my life back.”)
The short presentation left many questions unanswered. Here are a just a few related to Enbridge’s Michigan disaster:
- How did Enbridge discover there was a leak in the pipeline?
- When had that particular section of pipeline been last inspected?
- What percentage of the oil spilled has been recovered and what happens to the oil that Enbridge can’t recover?
- Why does the EPA estimate of the spill size differ from Enbridge’s estimate?
Many in the crowd seemed ready to ask these kinds of questions, but they didn’t get a chance. Directly after Perret finished, a member of the Wet’suwet’en named Toghestiy stood and spoke. He said the Wet’suwet’en opposed the Enbridge pipeline, and that Perret and Brown were trespassing on their territory. He then handed Brown an eagle feather, which he explained was a traditional warning that a trespass had occurred, and said that if they trespassed again they would be dealt with according to traditional Wet’suwet’en law.
Both Perret and Brown quickly packed their bags and fled the building.