Lack of Oversight

Since the Seaway pipeline will not require state approvals, EPA and PHMSA should ask for an:
  • Environmental Assessment from Enbridge
  • Emergency Response Plan filed by Enbridge pursuant to that required by the Clean Water Act
 
 
The Texas State Legislature should require the:
 
  • Railroad Commission to review and approve the safety of interstate pipelines
 

What Agency is Looking After Our Interests?

As Enbridge and Enterprise race to push Canadian tar sands to refineries in Freeport, Houston and Port Arthur, big questions emerge. What agency will permit this pipeline? Who will ensure its safety and oversight?

Will an environmental assessment be done before pushing a relatively new and toxic substance through an aging 36 year-old pipeline?

From our investigations, and according to an interview between an Enterprise spokesman and the Austin American Statesman, only a perfunctory permit is required from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reverse the flow from the pipeline from the Texas Gulf coast to Cushing.[1]

The sale has cleared the initial FERC regulatory hurdle and the only remaining regulatory action needed is approval of the pipeline’s proposed shipping rate.[2]

Additionally, the Enbridge/Enterprise partnership could secure enough shipments to allow them to build a parallel or twin the pipeline along the same right-of-way.[3] The companies recently announced their plans to do so.

Unlike TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline where a presidential permit was required, no State Department permit is needed for Enbridge since there is no international crossing. Now both TransCanada and Enbridge plan to do an “end run”  by having segmented pipelines from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf coast.[4]

No State Agency Approvals Required

The Seaway pipeline won’t need state approvals.

According to a spokesman for an Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), which regulates oil and gas in its state, it has no permitting authority with interstate pipelines.[5]

In Texas, the Railroad Commission (RRC) confirmed to the Austin American Statesman that it “does not issue construction permits for interstate or intrastate pipelines to be built.”[6]

The Railroad Commission currently has no authority over the routing or siting of intrastate and interstate pipelines, and has no safety jurisdiction over interstate pipelines such as a pipeline that would be built from an adjacent state into Texas."[7]
 
So who should intervene on behalf of Texas to protect our precious water supplies?
 
 
 
 


1.^ Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html

2.^ Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html

3.^ Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html

4.^ Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html

5.^ Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html

6.^ Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html

7.^ Austin American Statesman, Tim Eaton, January 26, 2012, Canadian Oil could reach Texas by summer if Keystone alternative found, http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/canadian-oil-could-reach-texas-by-summer-if-2128844.html