World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Enbridge, Inc.
Traded as TSX: ENB
S&P/TSX 60 Component
Industry Oil and gas
Founded April 30, 1949 (1949-04-30) as Interprovincial Pipe Line Company
Founder Imperial Oil
Headquarters Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Key people
Al Monaco(CEO)
Services Pipeline transport
Oil storage
Revenue C$32.9 billion[1]
C$629 million[1]
Total assets C$57.6 billion[1]
Total equity C$13.5 billion[1]
Number of employees
Subsidiaries Enbridge Pipelines
Enbridge Technology
Enbridge Gas Distribution
Enbridge Energy Partners (~15%)
Website .com.enbridgewww

Enbridge, Inc. is an energy delivery company based in Calgary, Canada. It focuses on the transportation, distribution and generation of energy, primarily in North America. As a transporter of energy, Enbridge operates, in Canada and the United States, the longest crude oil and liquid hydrocarbons transportation system in the world.[2] As a distributor of energy, it owns and operates Canada's largest natural gas distribution network, providing distribution services in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York State.[3]


  • History 1
  • Operations 2
    • Oil and product pipelines 2.1
    • Natural gas 2.2
    • Renewable energy 2.3
    • Power transmission 2.4
    • Rail 2.5
  • Spills and violations 3
    • Recent protests and controversies 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The company was initially incorporated by Imperial Oil as Interprovincial Pipe Line Ltd. (IPL) on April 30, 1949 shortly after Canada's first major oil discovery at Leduc, Alberta.[4][5][6] At the same year the company built its first oil pipeline from Leduc to Regina, Saskatchewan.[4][6] In 1950, it was expanded through Gretna, Manitoba, to Superior, Wisconsin, in the United States.[4][7] To operate the United States portion of the pipeline, the Lakehead Pipe Line Company (now: Enbridge Energy Partners) was created. In 1953 the pipeline was expanded to Sarnia, Ontario and in 1956 to Toronto and Buffalo, New York.[4]

In 1953, IPL was listed on the Toronto and Montreal exchanges.

In 1983 IPL built Norman Wells pipeline and joined Frontier Pipeline Company.[4] In 1986, through a series of stakes' exchanges IPL gained control of Home Oil and in 1988 it changed it name to Interhome Energy Inc.[4][8] In 1991, it changed its name to Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc. in 1991.[8] In 1992 Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc. was acquired by Interprovincial Pipe Line System Inc. which changed its name to IPL Energy Inc in 1994, after acquisition of Consumers' Gas (now Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.) and diversification into the gas distribution business.[4][8] In addition it acquired stakes in AltaGas Services and the electric utility of Cornwall, Ontario.[4] Through 1990s the company expanded its gas pipeline network and acquired stake in the Chicap oil pipeline. It also built the Athabasca Pipeline from northeastern Alberta to the main pipeline system.[4] In 1995 the company also expanded its activities outside of North America by taking a stake in the Ocensa pipeline. This stake was sold in 2009.[7] IPL Energy became Enbridge Inc in 1998.[8] The Enbridge name is a portmanteau from "energy" and "bridge".[4]

In 2000s Enbridge introduced several large projects. In 2006 it announced the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project from Athabasca to Kitimat, British Columbia.[9] Same year it announced the Alberta Clipper pipeline project from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, to connect oil sands production area with the existing network. This pipeline became operational in 2010.[10]

In 2009, Enbridge bought the Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant and expanded it up to 80 MW, which was the world's largest photovoltaic power station that time.[11]


Enbridge building in Edmonton, Alberta

Enbridge transports crude oil, liquids and natural gas in pipelines that total approximately 46,670 kilometres (29,000 mi) in Canada and the United States.

Oil and product pipelines

The company is the largest transporter of crude oil in Canada with 2.2 million barrels per day (350×10^3 m3/d) of oil and liquids.[6] The Enbridge Pipeline System is the world's longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system, located in both Canada and the United States.

Enbridge has several new capacities and expansion projects, including construction of Northern Gateway, expansion of Alberta Clipper, renovation of Line 6, reversal of Line 9 and others.[12] Its Light Oil Market Access initiative is a project light crude oil from North Dakota and Western Canada to refineries in Ontario, Quebec, and the U.S. Midwest. Eastern Access, including a reversal of Line 9, is a project to deliver oil Western Canada and Bakken to refineries in Eastern Canada and the midwest and eastern U.S.[12][13] Western Gulf Coast Access, including reversal and expansion of the Seaway Pipeline and the Flanagan South Pipeline, is a plan to connect Canadian heavy oil supply to refineries along the Gulf Coast of the United States.[14][15]

Natural gas

Enbridge gas meters.

Enbridge also gathers, processes, and transports natural gas. It has interest in the 2,986 kilometres (1,855 mi) Alliance Pipeline and the 560 kilometres (350 mi) Vector Pipeline.[6] Through its subsidiary Enbridge Gas Distribution it is the Canada's largest natural gas distribution utility.

Renewable energy

On 23 October 2008, Enbridge, FuelCell Energy, and Satcon Technology Corporation launched the world's first hybrid fuel cell energy system for Enbridge's natural gas pipeline operations in Ontario.[16] The $10 million project received grants of $2.3 million from Natural Resources Canada and $500,000 from the Government of Ontario's Ministry of Research and Innovation,[17] but has not proven to be financially viable with current electricity prices.

Power transmission

Enbridge has entered the power transmission business to facilitate the import and export of power, allowing markets to have efficient and economic access to existing and new-generation sources.

Enbridge's Montana-Alberta Tie-Line (MATL) is a 300-megawatt (MW), 230-kilovolt (KV) electrical transmission line allowing movement of power between Alberta and Montana. The MATL project, which was placed in service the fall of 2013, supports ongoing development of a rich wind-powered generation resource and allows electrical energy to flow in both directions. The transmission line is 210 miles (345 km) long and runs between the Lethbridge, Alberta area and the Great Falls, Montana area. Roughly 1/3 of the line is in Canada and 2/3 in the U.S.[18][19]


Enbridge rail facilities are responding to producer and shipper demands for more flexible, economical transportation of high-quality crude oil from the Bakken formation, located in eastern Montana, western North Dakota, and southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Spills and violations

Using data from Enbridge's own reports, the Polaris Institute calculated that 804 spills occurred on Enbridge pipelines between 1999 and 2010. These spills released approximately 161,475 barrels (25,672.5 m3) of crude oil into the environment.[20]

On July 4, 2002, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured in a marsh near the town of Cohasset, Minnesota, in Itasca County, spilling 6,000 barrels (950 m3) of crude oil. In an attempt to keep the oil from contaminating the Mississippi River, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources set a controlled burn that lasted for one day and created a smoke plume about 1-mile (1.6 km) high and 5 miles (8.0 km) long.[21]

In 2006 there were 67 reportable spills totaling 5,663 barrels (900.3 m3) on Enbridge's energy and transportation and distribution system; in 2007 there were 65 reportable spills totaling 13,777 barrels (2,190.4 m3) [22]

On March 18, 2006, approximately 613 barrels (97.5 m3) of crude oil were released when a pump failed at Enbridge's Willmar terminal in Saskatchewan.[23] According to Enbridge, roughly half the oil was recovered.

On November 28, 2007, two workers were killed when an uncontrollable blaze started at an Enbridge terminal/tank farm in Clearbrook, Minnesota. The fire forced Enbridge to shutdown the operating pipelines in the area, temporarily halting roughly 1/5 of US imports and increasing the price by nearly $1 per barrel. The pipe had leaked two weeks before and a temporary repair had been put in place. As workers were removing the temporary repair, oil began leaking and the fumes ignited. As of 2013, local municipal water supplies in Clearbrook would be insufficient to put out another fire should one occur.

On January 1, 2007, an Enbridge pipeline that runs from Superior, Wisconsin to near Whitewater, Wisconsin cracked open and spilled ~50,000 US gallons (190 m3) of crude oil onto farmland and into a drainage ditch.[24] The same pipeline was struck by construction crews on February 2, 2007, in Rusk County, Wisconsin, spilling ~201,000 US gallons (760 m3) of crude, of which about 87,000 gallons were recovered. Some of the oil filled a hole more than 20 feet (6.1 m) deep and contaminated the local water table.[25][26]

In April 2007, roughly 6,227 barrels (990.0 m3) of crude oil spilled into a field downstream of an Enbridge pumping station near Glenavon, Saskatchewan.[23]

In 2009, Enbridge Energy Partners, a U.S. affiliate of Enbridge Inc., agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a lawsuit brought against the company by the state of Wisconsin for 545 environmental violations.[27] In a news release from Wisconsin's Department of Justice, Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen said "...the incidents of violation were numerous and widespread, and resulted in impacts to the streams and wetlands throughout the various watersheds".[28] The violations were incurred while building portions of the company's Southern Access pipeline, a project to transport crude from the oil sands region in Alberta to Chicago.

In January 2009, an Enbridge pipeline leaked about 4,000 barrels (640 m3) of oil southeast of Fort McMurray at the company's Cheecham Terminal tank farm. Most of the spilled oil was contained within berms but about 1% of the oil, about 40 barrels (6.4 m3), sprayed into the air and coated nearby snow and trees.[29]

On January 2, 2010, Enbridge's Line 2 ruptured near Neche, North Dakota, releasing about 3,784 barrels of crude oil, of which 2,237 barrels were recovered.[26][30]

In April 2010, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured spilling more than 9.5 barrels (1.51 m3) of oil in Virden, Manitoba. This oil leaked into the Boghill Creek, which eventually connects to the Assiniboine River.[31]

In July 2010, (Main article: Kalamazoo River oil spill) a leaking pipeline spilled an estimated 843,444 US gallons (3,192.78 m3) of oil sands crude oil into Talmadge Creek leading to the Kalamazoo River in southwest Michigan on July 26, near Marshall, Michigan.[32][33] A United States Environmental Protection Agency update of the Kalamazoo River spill concluded the pipeline rupture "caused the largest inland oil spill in Midwest history" and reported the cost of the cleanup at $36.7 million (US) as of November 14, 2011.[32] The cleanup is unfinished as of March 2013.[34] PHMSA raised concerns in a Corrective Action Order (CAO) about numerous anomalies that had been detected on this pipeline by internal line inspection tools, yet Enbridge had failed to check a number of those anomalies in the field.[35] The Michigan spill affected more than 50 kilometres of waterways and wetlands and about 320 people reported symptoms from crude oil exposure.[36] The National Transportation Safety Board said at $800 million, it was the costliest onshore spill cleanup in U.S. history.[37] The NTSB found Enbridge knew of a defect in the pipeline five years before it burst.[38] In June 2013, a Kalamazoo man lodged himself into an Enbridge pipeline in Marshall, MI to protest Enbridge's lack of accountability for the 2010 spill and to encourage landowners along Enbridge's Line 6B expansion to offer increased resistance to construction in 2013.[39][40]

On September 9, 2010, a rupture on Enbridge's Line 6A pipeline near Romeoville, Illinois, released an estimate 7,500 barrels (1,190 m3) of oil into the surrounding area.[32][41]

Enbridge Pipelines (Athabasca) Inc., or Athabasca pipelines, subsidiary of Enbridge Inc., (TSX:ENB) (NYSE:ENB) reported a pipeline leak site, about 70 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, on June 22, 2013 of approximately 750 barrels of Light Synthetic Crude oil from Line 37 near Enbridge’s Cheecham, Alberta, terminal. Line 37, constructed in 2006, a 17-kilometre-long, 12-inch diameter pipe links the Long Lake oilsands upgrader to the Cheetham terminal and is part of Enbridge’s Athabasca system.[42] Unusually heavy rainfall in the region, that caused the 2013 Alberta floods, may have caused "ground movement on the right-of way that may have impacted the pipeline."[43] Enbridge’s Athabasca (Line 19) shares a portion of right of way with Line 37 and Enbridge's Wood Buffalo/Waupisoo (Line 75/18) which also shares a portion of right of way with Line 37, a major part of the network that serves Alberta's oilsands,[42] were closed down as a precautionary measure. Operations between Hardisty and Cheecham were restored on June 23 when Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline (Line 19) was restarted.[43]

On July 1, 2013, WWMT in Michigan reported that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had issued a citation against Enbridge for contamination of North Ore Creek by an Enbridge pipeline maintenance activity.[44]

Recent protests and controversies

In May 2012, West Coast First Nations members and supporters protested near Enbridge's Annual Shareholder's meeting, against the proposed Northern Gateway Project.[45]

On May 31, 2012, the Vancouver Observer reported about 40 protesters outside the Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit, protesting the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.[46]

On July 17, 2012, a group calling itself "We are the Kalamazoo" protested against Enbridge's response to the Kalamazoo spill and its plans to construct the line 6B pipeline. This protest was on the second anniversary of the Kalamazoo spill.[47]

On September 14, 2012, WLNS.COM reported clashes between Enbridge and landowners over eminent domain.[48]

On November 12, 2012, the Lansing State Journal reported that the head of the Line 6B pipeline project stated that he had never seen as much organized landowner resistance before despite 30 years in the pipeline industry. They noted that this was probably because of the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill.[49]

On April 20, 2013, a group of about 30 protesters gathered at the site of the Kalamazoo River oil spill to protest against tar sands oil, fracking, and Enbridge's response to the spill. As reported by Michigan live, Kalamazoo County Commissioner Jeff Heppler, whose property was affected by the spill, was present at the protest and stated, "'All I am asking is Enbridge do what they said they said they will do and what is right and take care of everybody, including the businesses that were adversely impacted by the oil spill.'"[50]

In May 2013, Hamilton area residents protested the reversal of flow in Line 9 and temporarily closed Ontario Highway 6.[51]

On June 6, 2013, a group called Hamilton 350 sent a letter of complaint to the Hamilton (Ontario) police service (HPS) for accepting over $44,000 in donations from Enbridge. The letter questions whether police officers would be impartial during any anti-Enbridge protests, given the donation. The letter questions, "If there were a standoff between, on the one side, environmentalists and/or native people (who claim the spot at which the Grand River is crossed by this pipeline) and, on the other side, Enbridge, Inc., would officers of the HPS be able to be truly impartial?"[52]

One June 26, 2013, Hamilton Police arrested at least 10 people who occupied an Enbridge compound for six days to protest the expansion of Enbridge's Line 9 and intent to ship diluted bitumen through the line.[53]

On July 22, 2013, a group of protesters locked themselves to equipment at an Enbridge pipeline construction site in Stockbridge, Michigan. Protesters stated that they had to take matters into their own hands given that state regulators were failing the public, "We felt that there was no other option."[54]

Throughout Minnesota in 2013, activists from the Red Lake and Leech Lake reservations, members of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Sierra Club, Honor the Earth, and MN350 have been taking action against the Enbridge Alberta Clipper pipeline which runs through the North half of Minnesota. At the Red Lake reservation, the only reservation in the nation to have a pipeline illegally operating under its soil without easements, a permanent encampment has been erected over the pipeline Right-of-Way, causing Enbridge to be fined for every day the pipeline is in operation. Activists from these organizations have organized demonstrations and disrupted hearings with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to demand that permission to increase the flow of dilbit through the Alberta Clipper pipeline be denied. In August 2013, the PUC agreed that a contested-case hearing take place to order further assessment of the environmental impacts of the increased capacity.

A September 16, 2013 "Inside Climate News" report by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Hasemeyer describes how many Michigan landowners are concerned about the safety of new Enbridge pipeline being laid within a few feet of their homes, and the lack of regulations for how close a pipeline can be constructed to an existing home. The article quotes Richard Kuprewicz, president of an engineering consulting company and an adviser to Pipeline Hazardous Materials Administration: "Clearly the pipeline safety regulations aren't adequate in this area and the siting regulations aren't adequate," Kuprewicz said. "It's a bad combination." Homeowners are questioning Enbridge's claims of putting safety first while also placing pipelines sometimes within less than 10 feet of homes.[55]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Enbridge 2013 Annual Report" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "Our Company Overview". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Enbridge 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2014 Corporate Performance Data on Key Governance, Environmental, Social and Economic Subjects". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Enbridge Inc. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Enbridge Inc.". Reference for Business. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  5. ^ Gray, Earle (2008). Ontario's Petroleum Legacy: The Birth, Evolution and Challenges of a Global Industry. Heritage Community Foundation. p. 73.  
  6. ^ a b c d "Crude success: Enbridge". Pipeline International. June 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  7. ^ a b Keraj, Sean (2012-07-10). "An Environmental History of Oil Spills on the Interprovincial Pipeline, 1949-2012". Sean Kheraj, Canadian History and Environment. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Canadian Corporate Reports. McGill Digital Archive. Company Detail: Enbridge".  
  9. ^ Jones, Jeffrey (2008-02-21). "Enbridge rekindles oil sands pipeline plan". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  10. ^ "Alberta Clipper Project". Downstream Today. 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  11. ^ "Enbridge completes Sarnia solar farm".  
  12. ^ a b Fielden, Sandy (2014-08-12). "Take a Pipe On The East Side? – Light Oil Market Access Into Eastern Canada". RBN Energy. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  13. ^ Smith, Christopher E. (2013-04-18). "Enbridge updates Eastern Access crude project progress".  
  14. ^ "Western Gulf Coast Access: An Enbridge Growth Projects Series (Part 4)" (Press release). Enbridge. 2014-07-07. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  15. ^ Harvey, Christine; Polson, Jim; Murtaugh, Dan (2013-02-15). "Enbridge, Energy Transfer to Convert Trunkline to Carry Oil".  
  16. ^ "Satcon Delivers World's First Hybrid Fuel Cell Energy System" (Press release). Satcon Technology Corporation. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Enbridge and FuelCell Energy Power Up World's First DFC-ERG Fuel Cell" (Press release). Enbridge. 23 October 2008. 
  18. ^ "Montana-Alberta tie line now fully operational". Alberta Electric System Operators (AESO). Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  19. ^ Kessler, Richard A. "Montana-Alberta wind power line seen nearing completion". NHST Media Group. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ National Transportation Safety Board Report Pipeline Accident Report from
  22. ^ Enbridge Inc. 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Report
  23. ^ a b "Spills and Releases". Enbridge. 2007. 
  24. ^ Content, Thomas (January 4, 2007). "Oil group cleans spill in Clark County". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  25. ^ Bergquist, Lee (2007-02-16). "Oil spill tainted water table". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  26. ^ a b "PHMSA: Stakeholder Communications". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  27. ^ The Canadian Press: Enbridge Energy agrees to pay $1.1 million for Wisconsin environmental violations
  28. ^ Enbridge Energy Settles Lawsuit Over Environmental Violations for $1.1 Million
  29. ^ "Enbridge still mopping up Anzac spill" from
  30. ^
  31. ^ "CBC News: Oil Spill Into Manitoba Creek". 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  32. ^ a b c U.S. EPA "EPA Response to Enbridge Spill in Michigan" June 21
  33. ^ EPA Raises Oil Spill Estimate In Michigan River
  34. ^ "Three Years Later, Kalamazoo Tar Sands Cleanup Continues". 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ Enbridge proposes changes to Northern Gateway pipeline July 20, 2012 Canadian Press
  37. ^ Enbridge to Spend Up to C$500 Million More on Northern Gateway Safety July 20, 2012,
  38. ^ Michigan lawmaker wary of Enbridge plans July 19, 2012
  39. ^ AP Photo/EPA (2013-06-24). "Man climbs into pipeline in protest of Enbridge Inc. in Marshall". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  40. ^ Ryan Felton (2013-06-24). "Man Skateboards Inside Pipeline To Protest 2010 Michigan Oil Spill". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  41. ^ "Enbridge US". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  42. ^ a b Canadian Press (25 June 2013). "Enbridge says spill from Line 37 near Fort McMurray, Alta., is being cleaned up". Edmonton Journal. 
  43. ^ a b "Line 37 Release". Enbridge Media Centre. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  44. ^
  45. ^ Colin Perkel (05/09/2012). "First Nations Northern Gateway Protest Set To Take Place At Enbridge Shareholder Meeting". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  46. ^ "Enbridge oilsands pipeline protested outside Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit". Vancouver Observer. 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  47. ^ "Enbridge Energy officials respond to 'We are the Kalamazoo' oil spill protest at Capitol". 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  48. ^ Morrow, Emerald (2012-09-14). "Enbridge Clashes With Homeowners Over Eminent Domain - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  49. ^ "Enbridge executives address local homeowner opposition". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  50. ^ Theresa Ghiloni. "Protestors gather at site of Kalamazoo River oil spill in opposition of tar sands oil, fracking". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  51. ^ "Enbridge pipeline protesters close Ontario highway - Latest Hamilton news - CBC Hamilton". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  52. ^ "Group protests Enbridge donations to Hamilton police - Hamilton - CBC News". 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  53. ^ "Enbridge protesters evicted, arrested | Toronto Star". 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  54. ^ We felt there was no other option than to take matters into our own hands,' pipeline protester says"'". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  55. ^ "Americans Finding Themselves Powerless to Stop Pipeline Companies From Taking Their Land". InsideClimate News. 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Enbridge Asset Map (current)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.