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Pipeline company asks for reduction in $2.4 million penalty for explosion that killed two people

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Enbridge Energy Pipeline is asking for a hearing with the federal Pipeline Safety Administration to reduce its $2.4 million proposed penalty. The penalty was assessed because of an explosion that killed two Superior-based workers a year ago while repairing a pipeline near Clearbrook in northwestern Minnesota.

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The federal investigation pointed to seven specific violations, including operating the pipeline in excess of design pressure and having multiple ignition sources, including an open flame heater while the pipeline was being repaired.

Enbridge spokeswoman Denise Hamsher says they're not appealing the findings of the federal investigators.

"Before they proposed their actions and penalty, we had already taken those actions so there shouldn't be those enforcement actions since they are already complete", she says. "We stepped up and took responsibility for the things that went wrong. It resulted in tragic deaths just over a year ago of two valuable people in this world so, we're not stepping away from that but we do contest the level of the penalty."

No hearing date has been set. Hamsher says Enbridge has changed its procedures and training since last year's November 28 explosion.

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