|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
Contamination resulting from spills or releases of petroleum products is an inherent risk within the pipeline industry. To the extent that groundwater contamination requiring remediation exists along our pipeline systems or other facilities as a result of past operations, we believe any such contamination could be controlled or remedied without having a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows, but such costs are site specific and there is no assurance that the impact will not be material in the aggregate.
Environmental groups have instituted lawsuits regarding certain nationwide permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These permits allow for streamlined permitting of pipeline projects. If these lawsuits are successful, timelines for future pipeline construction projects could be adversely impacted.
Disposal of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Wastes
In our normal operations, we generate hazardous and non-hazardous solid wastes that are subject to requirements of the federal RCRA and comparable state statutes, which impose detailed requirements for the handling, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste. We also utilize waste minimization and recycling processes to reduce the volumes of our solid wastes.
CERCLA, also known as “Superfund,” imposes liability, often without regard to fault or the legality of the original act, on certain classes of persons who contributed to the release of a “hazardous substance” into the environment. These persons include the owner or operator of a facility where a release occurred and companies that disposed or arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substances found at a facility. Under CERCLA, responsible parties may be subject to joint and several liability for the costs of cleaning up the hazardous substances that have been released into the environment, for damages to natural resources and for the costs of certain health studies. CERCLA and RCRA also authorize the EPA and, in some instances, third parties to take actions in response to threats to the public health or the environment and to seek to recover the costs they incur from the responsible parties. It is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by hazardous substances or other pollutants released into the environment. In the course of our ordinary operations, our pipeline systems and other facilities generate wastes that may fall within CERCLA’s definition of a “hazardous substance” or be subject to CERCLA and RCRA remediation requirements. It is possible that we could incur liability for remediation or reimbursement of remediation costs under CERCLA or RCRA for remediation at sites we currently own or operate, whether as a result of our or our predecessors’ operations, at sites that we previously owned or operated, or at disposal facilities previously used by us, even if such disposal was legal at the time it was undertaken.
The federal Endangered Species Act, as amended, and comparable state laws, may restrict commercial or other activities that affect endangered and threatened species or their habitats. Some of our current or future planned facilities may be located in areas that are designated as a habitat for endangered or threatened species and, if so, may limit or impose increased costs on facility construction or operation. In addition, the designation of previously unidentified endangered or threatened species could cause us to incur additional costs or become subject to operating restrictions or bans in the affected areas.
FERC Regulation – Liquids Pipelines
Certain of our NGL, refined products and crude oil pipeline systems have interstate common carrier movements subject to regulation by the FERC under the Interstate Commerce Act (“ICA”). Pipelines providing such movements (referred to as “interstate liquids pipelines”) include, but are not limited to, the following: ATEX, Aegis, Dixie Pipeline, TE Products Pipeline, Front Range Pipeline, Mid-America Pipeline System, Seaway Pipeline, Seminole Pipeline and Texas Express Pipeline. These pipelines are owned by legal entities whose movements are subject to FERC regulation, including periodic reporting requirements. For example, ATEX, Aegis and the TE Products Pipeline are owned by Enterprise TE Products Pipeline Company LLC (“Enterprise TE”), which provides FERC-regulated movements.