Enbridge Energy gives pump station tour at Saxon facility


November 8, 2019

Kim E. Strom/Daily Globe

Enbridge EMPLOYEES Adam Erickson, left and technical supervisor Jim Sojika hold a map showing the proposed re-route for their Line 5 pipeline around the Bad River Reservation in Odanah, Wis. The thick u-shaped line is the project route corridor that is the study area for possible relocation of Line 5.



SAXON, Wis. - In an effort to be transparent, Enbridge Energy invited the media to attend a tour of its pump station in Saxon Thursday and was available to answer questions about its Line 5 and possible relocation project around the Bad River Reservation in Odanah, Wis. Line 5 is a 645-mile pipeline carrying light crude and natural gas liquids from Superior, Wis. to Sarnia, Ontario.

According to Enbridge's website, in July the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe took legal action to remove Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline from the reservation. As such, Enbridge is looking at options for moving Line 5 outside of the reservation.

The possible re-route is in the early stages of planning and negotiation efforts continue, although communications specialist Juli Kellner has said that the band has not responded to their offers as of yet.

"We are working on a parallel path and also developing a re-route," said Kellner. "Knowing that we need to maintain Line 5 takes cooperation and communication that has to happen," she said.

According to its website, Enbridge has offered the following settlement in a letter to the band for the band's lawsuit:

-$12,000,000 to settle claims associated with the easements concerning the allotted parcels from 2013 through the end of 2019.

-$2,000,000 paid annually beginning in 2020 until operation of Line 5 on the reservation is discontinued by Enbridge.

-$10,000,000 to the band upon start-up and operation of the new route segment at which time, Enbridge will cease operation on the Bad River Reservation.

Safety was the main topic of conversation around the Enbridge operations Thursday as the tour took place. The pipeline, which is 645 miles long and 30 inches in diameter contains five shut off valves over the 40 mile stretch that goes through the reservation to utilize in case of a leak or other emergency, according to Erickson. They are remotely operated and monitored 24/7 by the control center.

According to technical supervisor Jim Sojka, within the pump station there are built in safety factors such as transmitters, flow meters and control valves that are all remotely operated in the case the flow needs to be shut down. "We have built redundancies into the system," he said. "We have flow meters in both locations (Ino, Wis. and Saxon) that make sure the material is balanced and we have leak protection," he said.

According to Erickson, in order to supply Enbridge with material, there is a prequalification process that is over and above industry standards. "There's a number of safety precautions we take while loading or moving pipe and while building a line," he said.

Enbridge, in a letter posted on its website, has said it hope to "work cooperatively with the band on designing, permitting and constructing a re-route of Line 5 outside of the reservation so it best meets the interests of the Bad River Band, other potentially affected tribal nations, surrounding communities, Enbridge and the permitting authorities.

They also state they would like to hire Bad River citizens to survey cultural resources ... and bring concerns forward early and throughout the permitting process.


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