Wisconsin Greens call for moratorium on tar sands expansion

p_Wisconsin_pipeline_61_route.jpgEnbridge Energy, the corporation responsible for the largest inland oil spill in American history (dumping an estimated 1 million gallons of tar sands sludge into the Kalamazoo River system), is attempting to expand its pipeline system in Wisconsin to carry more tar sands than the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

On Tuesday January 27th, the Dane County Zoning and Land Regulation Committee will decide what conditions to place on the zoning permit for the proposed Line 61 pump station near Marshall.

The WI Green Party urges citizens of Wisconsin to call on our local governments to demand:

-An Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for each county where the pipeline expansion runs.

-Environmental impact liability insurance in place before any further expansion in pipeline capacity or any additional lines.

-A moratorium on this expansion until all the details are properly legally secured, and residents of the affected counties have been fully informed of the potential health and environmental impacts.

Although members of the public will not be able to speak at the Dane County meeting, we ask concerned citizens to attend, as a strong turnout will show local officeholders how seriously we are taking this issue.

WHAT: Dane County Zoning and Land Regulation Committee Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, January 27th at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Room 354 in the City-County Building, 201 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Madison

More information on the Line 61 issue:

ON a hot July night in 2010, a little-known oil pipeline crossing southern Michigan split open, pouring roughly one million gallons of heavy Alberta tar sands crude oil into the Kalamazoo River system. By the time the leak was stopped over 17 hours later, the incident had become the largest inland oil spill on American soil in history. Although Enbridge Energy, the Canada-based oil corporation that owned and operated the pipeline, was ordered to clean up the spill, an estimated 181,000 gallons of tar sands remained in the river three years after the fact. The disaster was a wakeup call for Michigan residents, regulatory officials, lawmakers, and conservationists.

Devastating as it was, the Kalamazoo River oil spill was far from unprecedented. Enbridge Energy’s North American pipelines have logged more than 800 spills since 1999 and spilled nearly 7 million gallons of oil. Spills from pipelines in Enbridge’s Lakehead System have polluted the environment, forced evacuations that disrupted communities and, in one incident, killed two workers.

The Enbridge corporation already has a tar sands pipeline running through Wisconsin, known as Line 61. Enbridge is pressuring the state Department of Natural Resources and local authorities to allow expansion of its current 560,000-barrels a day transport of diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands region. The expanded line would carry 1.2 million barrels a day, or 50 million gallons a day – more than was planned for the Keystone XL pipeline. Diluted bitumen (aka “tar sands sludge”) is far more toxic and difficult to clean up than light sweet crude oil (like the oil that poured into the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion of 2010).

Wisconsin Wetlands Association details over 60 violations of mandatory wetlands practices in Enbridge’s laying of the original Line 61 in 2007: http://www.wisconsinwetlands.org/EnbridgeViolations.htm

See an article from the Fall 2014 issue of Green Wisconsin about Enbridge Line 61 and the Kalamazoo spill.

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  • Anonymous
    commented 2015-01-26 17:35:02 -0600
    If you are in the Madison area, try to attend this meeting.