Enbridge Energy Partners to repair damaged pipeline that spilled 2.73 million gallons of crude oil

Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline

A man watches a pipeline break in a water reservoir where crude oil spilled from an oil pipeline on October 27, 2014, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The spill was the second oil incident this month in Mississippi. (Nathaniel Woods/AFP/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — A company under investigation for letting oil gush onto a South Pittsburgh neighborhood, causing environmental damage and a deadly fire, will be able to repair a crucial section of a damaged oil pipeline that spilled 2.73 million gallons of crude oil in a residential neighborhood nearly a year ago, federal regulators approved Tuesday.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave final approval for Enbridge Energy Partners to repair the section of Line 5B near the neighborhoods of West View and Northview. Enbridge, the state’s second-largest natural gas pipeline operator, operates more than 1,100 miles of pipelines across the country, more than half of which are in the Midwest. In 2012, it repaired the broken section of the line, which at the time was carrying about 250,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil.

A spokesman for the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said Enbridge had applied for permission for the repair on Line 5B through a federal agency they refer to as the “permit authority.” The permit authority, said the spokesman, would decide which federal agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would issue the permission.

The agency received nearly 7,000 public comments after the spill and nearly 3,000 during an investigation into the spill and the fire.

“We know of no other accident or incident since 1972 involving Enbridge crude oil in the United States,” said the EPA’s regional chief, David Andrews. He said the agency is also continuing to review all the company’s pipeline operations and procedures at its remaining two South Pittsburgh terminals, and any safety and environmental issues that could happen again if they’re found to be the cause of the spill or fire.

“Enbridge is fully cooperating with the investigation, working with the state and Pittsburgh Police to collect pertinent data, and addressing the ongoing questions in this area. We’re committed to ensuring that this incident is not repeated in the future,” said Enbridge spokesman Chris Dolak.

Enbridge also announced it would

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