"We shipped about 4 billion barrels of product between 2005 and 2009. During that time we spilled roughly 40,000 barrels," Grymala says. "But that means we safely delivered about 99.99 percent of the volumes without incident."
Utility companies had unusual access to regulators under Governor Tim Pawlenty, says Bruce Bomier, who served on the state's Environmental Quality Board. The board lost its watchdog authority over utilities like pipeline operators in 2005.
photo by David Dodge, courtesy of The Pembina Institute
The tar sands almost look majestic until you realize it's an oil slick
"I think there was a dogma of eliminating review and regulation that was bouncing up against serious environmental issues," Bomier says. "And we will pay for it. Just like we're paying for the economic meltdown."