If you want to “go to school” on Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) and companies like it, this website can be a first-person resource for you. Launched in 2008 as Spectra Energy Watch (see About Us), we’ve done deep dives into the difference between Spectra Energy’s words and deeds.
If you want to know what to expect from Spectra Energy or companies like it, talk with property owners who live with such companies on a day-to-day basis. Social media and websites like Shale Property Rights can be a great connecting tool.
For example, despite platitudes about safety, Spectra Energy does not have a best-in-class track record that might build confidence among property owners. Spectra Energy has a long, documented record of problems that include violations, explosions and fines (including a 15 million dollar federal fine).
Spectra Energy’s Track Record is available from public sources. Following are highlights with links that include additional sources and documents:
1) Top Civil Penalty Ranking from EPA – Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern pipeline division is ranked number seven on the EPA’s list of the “Top Civil Enforcement Cases Based on Penalty Assessed Through EOY FY 2009.” The National Enforcement Trends (NETs) document on the EPA website shows a $15 million penalty for discharging highly toxic PCBs – polychlorinated biphenyls – at 89 sites along the company’s 9,000-mile gas transmission pipeline running from Texas to New Jersey.
Los Angeles Times Link: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-10-21/news/mn-191_1_record-fine
TIME Magazine Link: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,966034,00.html
2) PCB Contamination (PolyChlorinated Biphenyls) – Spectra Energy acknowledges in its Form 10-K (filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 27, 2012) that highly toxic PCBs remain in its pipeline system (emphasis added): ”The Toxic Substances Control Act, which requires that polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminated materials be managed in accordance with a comprehensive regulatory regime. Because of the historical use of lubricating oils containing PCBs, the internal surfaces of some of our pipeline systems are contaminated with PCBs, and liquids and other materials removed from these pipelines must be managed in compliance with such regulations.” See p. 23 (5th bullet) of Spectra Energy’s 10-K filing, under the subhead, “Environmental Matters.”
Pdf file: SpectraEnergyCorp10K2011
Spectra Energy Watch – Spectra PCBs 2: http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=498
Spectra Energy Watch – Spectra PCBs?: http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=480
3) Underground Natural Gas Reservoir Explosions – Spectra Energy’s underground natural gas storage reservoir outside of Houston (Moss Bluff) experienced catastrophic failure in 2004 with two explosions, 6 1/2 days of fire and two evacuations. An estimated 6 bcf of natural gas was consumed during the fire.
Industrial Fire World (IFW) Pdf: What Lies Beneath > Industrial Fire World
Gas Storage And Single-Point Failure Risk Pdf: article_singlepointfailurerisk
Spectra Energy Watch – Moss Bluff Incident: http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=390
4) “Unlawful Conduct” at Steckman Ridge – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued two Notices of Violation in 2009 for Spectra Energy’s “unlawful conduct” during the first year of operation at its Steckman Ridge compressor station in Clearville (Bedford County), PA. Spectra Energy’s “unlawful conduct” violated air quality and clean stream regulations of the Pennsylvania Code, according to the Pennsylvania DEP.
PA DEP Pdf: DEP Fines Steckman Ridge:Spectra Energy
Spectra Energy Watch – Emergency Shutdown: http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=372
Spectra Energy Watch – Spectra Promises: http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=466
Understanding the Corporate Culture in its own words: Definition of lying as a defense – Spectra Energy filed a 32-page report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) exonerating itself regarding complaints about abusive and unethical behavior toward landowners as part of its 12 billion-cubic-feet underground gas storage reservoir in Clearville, PA, known as Steckman Ridge.
The original report is accessible on this website and it is titled, “Inquiry Report — Response to Benard Allegations.” In its official report, Spectra Energy uses the dictionary definition of lying as a proof point to claim: “There is no evidence of willful ‘lying’ by any Project Representative to landowners.” This technique illustrates the slippery slope gas companies like Spectra Energy navigate between their words and their deeds. Spectra Energy’s report and the first of four commentaries are available at this link, “Pious Mouse Wash 1: http://www.spectraenergywatch.com/blog/?p=213
You will also find updated posts specific to Spectra Energy in this section.