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Enbridge pipeline leak in cleanup mode, line in service

A forest fire that burned east of Deer River April 16 crossed a section of an Enbridge En-ergy Partners pipeline right of way.

Lorraine Grymala, Enbridge community affairs manager, said the company's environ-mental officials, aware that the fire was in the pipeline locale, checked the area and found that a pipe installed in the 1950s had leaked.

"The pipe has been fixed and was returned to service Sun-day night," she said. "We are in the process of cleaning it up."

In a press release, Marty Co-benais of the Indigenous Envi-ronmental Network, an organi-zation that opposes the pipe-line expansion Enbridge con-ducted during the past few months, said the oil that leaked from the pipeline had contrib-uted to the fire.

However, Mike Aultman of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, incident commander for the forest fire in question, said none of the oil burned and the leak did not contribute to the fire.

"The fire started along Highway 11," he said. "It wasn't anywhere near the pipeline at the start of the fire."

He said 115 acres burned. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No one was injured fighting the fire.

Grymala said five barrels, or 210 gallons of oil, leaked from the pipe.

She said a major concern was the safety of the Indige-nous Environmental Network members who arrived at the right of way to take photos while Enbridge crews were welding and conducting re-pairs.

"These kinds of spills from old and/or exposed pipes in wetland areas, and the appar-ent lack of sufficient monitoring are among the reasons several Leech Lake Tribal members are taking legal action against Enbridge Energy regarding the Alberta Clipper Pipeline," Cobenais said in a press re-lease.