Salmon River Next To Be Destroyed?

While researching this company I found a website run by Duke Energy (Spectra) employees. I thought this would be a website devoted to propagandizing the oil industry. Quite the opposite has happened here. What kind of good corporate citizen or community minded company would have a website by it's employees informing us of the horror stories going on within. If they aren't trusted by their own employees how can the public trust them to put a pipeline under a river that is constantly changing course?

"For too long the employers have had a monopoly on influencing employment legislation. Their lobbyist are constantly in the faces of politicians, pitching the employer’s wants. Is it any wonder that the laws always seem to favor the employer? Sometimes employers plot in concert for decades to take certain benefits from employees. Money made from your labor is often funneled to politicians to grease the way to take more benefits from you." From Duke Energy Employees website

Texas-based Spectra Energy Corp. Looking to Launch Salmon River Crossing (near Prince George) Project This Summer

By 250 News

Friday, May 22, 2009 03:53 AM

Prince George, B.C.- Spectra Energy Corp, hopes to start a pipeline crossing project at the Salmon River this summer. “We still have some discussions with the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans” says Steve Henderson, Spectra’s Manager of Community and Aboriginal Relations.
The project would take about 6 months to complete and would involve going under the Salmon River.
The Salmon River poses a couple of major challenges says Henderson, “The river itself is migrating laterally and then there is the number of log jams that regularly occur on the Salmon River.”...{snip}

it should be noted here that the logjams are protected. So far I have only found one item on this and will search further to prove it out.

The plan would see a pilot hole drilled to a depth of more than 20 meters, and the pipeline would be pulled through that pilot hole. The target start date for that project is the third week in June..... [snip]

If someone is going to bore a hole under a river starting in June and it takes 6 months to complete do they know what the weather is going to be like in December?

And has this company already been in talks with the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans? Because it is my understanding that these talks take quite a number of months if not years.

And if they have been in talks with these ministries when did those talks commence, how far along are they, and just who is involved?

These three questions set alarm bells off in my head so I looked up this company and found the following:
From Spectra Energy Watch

Property owners are key stakeholders in any mineral rights leasing transaction, whether for recovery, storage, transmission or generation of power. Property owners possess the fundamental asset – the land and property rights – without which, there is no energy project for recovery, storage, transmission or generation.

The power of eminent domain in the hands of government — which is usually transferred to a business — creates a sense of entitlement; and it creates an atmosphere ripe for abuse. It is not a level playing field legally, economically or ethically for private property owners.

Therefore, landowner property rights need to be protected under law. In a constructive effort to guide legislators and regulators, here are five principles.

Spectra Family Tree

Spectra Energy – Who’s Your Daddy?

Duke Energy: Legacy of Spectra Energy’s Past – What Kind of Corporate Culture Would Create This Level of Animosity Among Its Own Employees?

Family trees often reveal character traits – and that’s as true of companies as it is for individuals.

Spectra Energy’s family tree shows a significant link with Duke Energy. As the Spectra Energy website reveals, its U.S. roots began with Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company in 1929. See link:http://www.spectraenergy.com/who_we_are/history/

After a series of corporate “begats,” the company’s name was changed to PanEnergy in 1996. The following year, Duke Power and PanEnergy merged to form Duke Energy. Ten years later, in 2007, Spectra Energy was spun off from Duke Energy.

This family tree offers insight into the behavior and corporate culture we are dealing with at Spectra Energy – especially when one considers that at least 7 former Duke Energy executives are running the show at Spectra Energy.

At least four members of the current executive leadership team at Spectra Energy came from Duke Energy, including Gregory Ebel, Spectra Energy’s current CEO. See link: http://www.spectraenergy.com/who_we_are/leadership/

At least three members of Spectra Energy’s Board of Directors came from Duke Energy, including Fred Fowler “who led the successful spin-off of Spectra Energy from Duke Energy in 2007,” according to the Spectra Energy website. Mr. Fowler was Spectra Energy’s first CEO. See link:http://www.spectraenergy.com/who_we_are/board/

The point? Check out a very unusual website called the Duke Energy Employee Advocate at: http://www.dukeemployees.com/

This independent-from-the-company website accuses the Duke Energy management team of lying to employees. There are references in the website to current executives at Spectra Energy – from their Duke Energy days. And they are not flattering references.

Hmmm. Could there be a family resemblance?

The site is a bulletin board of issues, commentary, reproductions of news articles, letters to politicians and so on. It is exceedingly negative about its employer, Duke Energy, its leadership team and the company’s ethics.

The stated purpose of the site is centered around “improving benefits and equitable treatment,” including (and perhaps especially): “The restoration of retirement-pension benefits lost to the cash balance conversion.”

Judging from dates used on the website, the Employee Advocate might have started in the year 2000. If that is correct, we have an employee-controlled website that for approximately 9 years has slammed Duke Energy for its lack of integrity.

What kind of corporate culture would drive this level of animosity among its own employees? If a company cannot persuade its own employees that it is ethical and acting in their best interests – how can it possibly be credible with external stakeholders and audiences (including property owners)?

For example, following is an excerpt from commentary on Fred Fowler, Spectra Energy’s first CEO and former Duke Energy exec. The setting appears to have been a talk to employees about safety. This excerpt begins with the headline:

Fast Freddie Fowler Flounders

Employee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – September 27, 2004


“Fred Fowler came on like a storm trooper, declaring all the great things that he was going to push through. He formed a committee. Management was going to be held accountable for safety. There were going to be zero accidents on the job. There were going to be zero deaths on the job. In fact, no one was even going to get sick on the job!


“Mr. Fowler is not much on admitting mistakes. This may be a holdover from serving in the old management regime for so long.


“He will probable [sic] never be referred to as an inspirational executive.”

I contacted the Duke Energy Employee Advocate website to see if someone would be willing to share more insight into the gene pool that begat these two corporate cultures. No response has been received yet, perhaps because they want to maintain anonymity.

In the meantime, landowners who wonder whether they can trust energy companies might want to visit this employee-controlled website and learn what employees think.

A Citizen's Reflection on Eminent Domain & the Domestic Energy Cartel

Eminent domain is only abstract until it lands on your doorstep. Essentially, it means that someone wants your property, and the government helps them take it. It means your property will be used to make money for a corporation -- not for you.

There are different forms of "taking," but even if you manage to "keep" title to your property (as in our case), your use of it will be severely restricted. And you will continue to pay taxes on property you can no longer use.

It amounts to legal plunder under the badge of government. Ultimately, power corrupts; and the power of eminent domain in the hands of government -- which is transferred to a business -- creates a sense of entitlement; and it creates an atmosphere ripe for abuse.

Because it held the power of eminent domain, Spectra Energy's alleged negotiations with property owners were never on a level playing field. The company claims publicly that it is "desperate" to negotiate with landowners. The only matter the company was desperate about was to seize property rights - and quickly.

Once it had "tentative" approval from FERC for the "proposed" gas storage field, it quickly sold the storage space to customers and bragged about it in a June 2007 press release.

The company publicly promised to have the storage field up and running by April 2009. So eminent domain and its sense of entitlement led Spectra Energy to a series of actions that now threaten the timetable of a proposed project. The threat to that timetable and the grassroots resistance of property owners, will likely cost them money and reputation.

Thus the energy project that is really an entitlement project is now leaving a vapor trail of bad decisions and inappropriate actions. All of this has put landowners in a face-off with the equivalent of a domestic energy cartel between Spectra Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, because the power of eminent domain allows them to control pricing and competition. By definition, that is a cartel.

It must be remembered here that this is an American company. But this American Company is attempting (I allege) to do some very very questionable work on our soil. And this type of work is not just drill a hole and feed a pipeline. And we have enough problems with our fish right now.


BC Mary said...

What I couldn't figure out about the Spektra scheme is the process by which they proposed to have their pipeline CROSS underneath the Salmon riverbed.

All very well to say they would drill down 20 meters. Then what? Have you ever heard of a process which can then make a 180 degree turn ...

and then excavate ...?

remove the rocks & sand ...?

pull more pipe down through the pipe and make that 180 degree turn ...?

lay pipe ... ???

clean the mud off ..??

and weld the seams ... ???

for about a blind km.???

Very questionable work on our soil, indeed.



Gary E said...

There are a couple of aspects that I am still trying to figure out here Mary. This is one of them. My brother is a engineer (used to be a lifelong liberal until the drunk wouldn't resign) but I haven't been able to contact him. He may be out of the country. He does this kind of work so if anyone knows he will.

What really got me on this is how fast they are able to push this through. If in fact they are at the point they claim to be.

Personally I think they are blowing smoke (probably the good kind) It appears to be a situation where they are forging ahead using the media. And possibly the courts.

And I must apologize here. It is BC Mary that put me onto this story and I failed to mention that in the main body.Sorry and thanks Mary

BC Mary said...

You're very welcome, Gary E.

I respect and appreciate your commitment to the rivers and fish ... that's why I forwarded the Salmon River piece.

Have you seen those grand big sturgeon they've been catching and using for spawning? Sure wish them success, too.