A landowner-turned-activist in Michigan captures a pipeline construction accident on video, and fearing damage, gets Enbridge to replace the pipe.

By Maria Gallucci

The view from David Gallagher's porch window should have been bucolic on that January evening. In the distance, the setting sun was bouncing off fresh snow that blanketed old farmland surrounding his Ceresco, Mich. home.

But Gallagher could see only the workers from Enbridge Inc., the Canadian energy company that had been constructing a crude oil pipeline 12 feet from his house for the past seven months.

Although he had grown used to the crew and the rumblings of their bulldozers and backhoes, Gallagher's fears about the safety of laying pipe so close to his home never left him. And on Jan. 8, as he watched a crane lift a piece of 50-ton pipe longer than a football field, a shot of alarm raced through his body. The crane suddenly began to tip over, and the massive pipe that was dangling between the machine's claws plunged into a trench before the crane toppled on its side.

If the pipe had been any closer, "it would've smashed into our sunroom," Gallagher said. "It was a holy shit moment."


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