Ecology

Ex-Enbridge Whistleblower on Hiding Spilled Oil

By Maggie Hughes
Published October 31, 2012

John Bolenbaugh is an ex-Enbridge employee, fired for not wanting to cover up the shoddy clean-up of an oil spill along the Kalamazoo River in 2010. Enbridge gave the orders to hide the oil under streams, parks and in the woods. Bolenbaugh's videos show the three main ways that Enbridge instructs its employees to hide spills.

This is not new, as the pipeline company has had over 600 leaks and spills at the time of this posting. What is different in Kalamazoo was the size of the spill, and the fact that it flowed into the river as well as many creeks and bog areas, ending up in Lake Michigan.

Some of the nearby residents became ill and suffered neurological disorders for the first time in their lives, simply from being forced to inhale the fumes.

The spill was not addressed immediately, largely because the local fire department and similar emergency service people did not know where the pipeline was.

The citizens were not warned. The leak was not reported to them. Enbridge engaged in many dangerous and dishonest practices. It was only John Bolenbaugh and independent journalists who told the true story. I thank him for his work under very stressful situations.

Maggie Hughes hosted The Other Side, a weekly independent podcast. The Other Side looked at the issues that mainstream media tends to downplay or ignore, using interviews and lectures to show the effects that economic, corporate and political policies have on society. Maggie died in November 2012 after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. The Hamilton Independent Media Awards were established in her honour.

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By KLO (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 13:12:28

It is interesting to me how little research you did and that you excepted Mr. Bolenbaugh at his word without taking Enbridge's side of the story. If you had done some research you find the this "whistle blower" was fired for misconduct prior to "blowing the whistle" on Enbridge. This would make you headline somewhat outrageuos. A look into the claims by Mr Bolenbaugh about hiding this spill by looking at information supplied by Enbridge to the EPA would show that sample results taken from areas selected by the EPA including the depositional areas that Mr. Bolenbaugh uses for his examples are below back ground samples taken both upstream and downstream of the release. Additionally the areas that Mr. Bolenbaugh chooses to focus on are areas of significant ecological value. The techniques that he would like to see used in these areas may remove any residual impacts in the area but the damage that these invasive techniques would cause to the ecology of the area would bestroy thier ecological suitablitity for the next 20 years. A look back at past significant spills of heavy oils such as the Exxon release will show that in areas where these highly invasive techniques were utilized there is little to no recovery of the ecology to date versus areas where minimially invasive techniques were used that show full or near to full recovery.

Taking the word of a disgruntled ex employee with a documented questionable backgound and no significant exepertise without doing any research on the subject is highly questionable and severly skewed journalism.

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By John Bolenbaugh (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 16:26:14 in reply to Comment 82481

Where are you getting your facts (KLO. I am quoting from court records. I was fired for "reporting a oil cover up to the media that made Enbridge's reputation look bad" Un quote. I never missed a day of work, I was never wrote up, I had 4 foreman testify that I was a hard worker and I was fired over a month after I went to the EPA, DNR, and the press. And proof that I was write and Enbridge covered up massive amounts of toxic oil. They re-dug up all of the sites I showed in my videos. ALL OF THEM!!!! The said Tallmadge Creek was 100% clean and cleared in October 2010. and because of my accurate videos they had to re dig the 2 mile creek back up 5 foot deep 40 foot wide at a cost of approx. $25,000,000. Now would they do that if I was lying. Also I told everyone that they were lying about how toxic the submerged oil was. Guess what over a year after they said it was 100% clean and safe for our kids to swim in and we could eat the fish I should the world the oily filled tumor fish. And I took NPR and CTV Canada and over a dozen other reporters out to the river. What do you know all that news and pressure made EPA make Enbridge re dredge the oil filled toxic bottom at a cost of $200,000,000. So who do you believe. The company that got caught or the guy who told on them. And to say it is ecological better to leave this oil at the river bottom is just plain criminal. My brother is a Environmental coordinator for a pipeline company. He is the big boy with all the knowledge and credentials. And he told me many times that to leave this would be damaging to the environment. At least when you clean it up and start from scratch the new ecosystem will not be full of toxic TAR SAND oil. And for more proof it is a fact that ENBRIDGE FALSIFIED air sample test results. EPA verified that. Not me. So why don't you go do more research sir, because you have no clue what you are talking about. The only disgruntle thing I ever did was tell the truth about a cover up that is a no no in the pipeline community of workers. Why because you lose your job, career, get death threats, and then your lied about by people like you that support these corporate criminals. Shame on you sir. Go to HELPPA .org for the truth. THE REAL TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By accesslaw (registered) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 05:18:25 in reply to Comment 82481

oh, come on, 'fired for misconduct' by an 'employer' who practices corporate misconduct is cause to award the employee a medal and a million$ damage award.

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By J (registered) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 14:30:33 in reply to Comment 82481

Well said. It is becoming the norm where extremists get a free ride from journalists because shock value sells. I would like to see more unbiased journalism, and more consumers of information demand this kind of unbiased journalism, because frankly I'm getting sick of hearing only one side of the story.

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By accesslaw (registered) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 05:20:15 in reply to Comment 82488

Corporate profiteering extremists have been getting a free ride from corporate mass media from decades. Only by the efforts of conscientious citizens made with great personal sacrifice have we been able to discover the truth and stop evil in its tracks.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 10:02:19

Nice way to bring up are young ones ....corperate in privet sectors and public are all corruped and they wonder why some pls donèt pay there taxes because of these things

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By TKO (anonymous) | Posted November 01, 2012 at 22:19:22

Bolenbaugh never worked for Enbridge. He worked for SET Environmental. He's lying when he says he worked for Enbridge. He's also a registered sex offender--he went to jail for having sex with two underage girls. He's hardly an oil spill clean up expert, he's an ex-con who has a sordid history, a hard time with telling the truth and a hard time getting and keeping a job.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 07, 2012 at 01:00:05

Well, it's obvious that some folks really don't like the guy...

With a little research, he honestly sounds like a bit of a blowhard, but most of his major allegations about the cleanup have been backed up by some pretty serious investigations.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 08, 2012 at 17:46:13

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but wanted to say something. The author of this article, Maggie Hughes, has just passed away. She was an old friend and one of the most committed activists/journalists I've ever met. She'll be sorely missed by a lot of people.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 09, 2012 at 09:14:02 in reply to Comment 82686

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By John Bolenbaugh (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2013 at 17:00:14

I have never said I worked directly for Enbridge. Everyone says that because I worked for a sub contractor that is under them and according to law they are at fault weather I worked for them or directly for their company. But the truth is that Hired Foreman by Enbridge told us to cover up and hide oil. And even when I committed my crime in 2000 when I wrestled in College, no one ever said that I lied. Matter of fact I have never been called a liar and actually was proved that I was. Can you show the viewer's just one lie I told??? You cant. Weather it is good or bad I tell it how it is. I even told the press and a room full of 400 people about my past BEFORE I reported the cover up to them. (and not one news station reported about my past that night because they said it has nothing to do with the cover up) Only the people that bring it up are attempting to use a smoke screen so the truth of the cover up doesn't look like one. I have nothing to hide and there is no need to lie because there is so much truth that it is easy for me to prove everything I have ever said. And after 7,500 hours of tar sand education and research. I am an expert in this field. That is coming from the court officer. Matter of fact I was appointed by Enbridge personally to be the Yard boss for the biggest oil spill clean up yard in the history of the United States. So Enbridge and you have no clout saying I am a no body. I also have 17 certificates from FEMA in disasters. Not including the several environmental clean up courses I have taken. I was also a foreman for the Keystone one pipeline. Sir you are looking more like a huge liar every sentence I write. And back to you saying I cant keep a job. As court records PROVE I was a great worker that did nothing wrong. Except report a oil cover up to the media that made Enbridge's reputation look bad. Funny thing is they never say I lied. They just say I wasn't suppose to tell the press. And I proved that was even a lie because there was never any documentation that there was a written rule that I couldn't go to the press. So I never broke a rule and the unemployment agency did an investigation and they said I did not break any policy and I received my unemployment for being wrongfully fired. So are you calling the state of Michigan liars to because they sided with me the truth teller. This is fun. I can go on and on with the Enbridge lies and my truths. Before I make you look to bad I am going to stop. OOPS I already made you look like a fool. HELPPA .org for the REAL TRUTH.

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