(Thanks to writer Eric Hansen for relaying much of this information.)
Today at the Superior Public Library in Superior, WI, the Wisconsin DNR is holding a public hearing on a permit (a simple air pollution permit) which would allow Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline corporation, to begin to expand the “Line 61” pipeline that slices right through the heart of Wisconsin, from Superior on Lake Superior to Delavan. DNR approval allows Enbridge to potentially triple the capacity of the oil pipeline connected to another pipeline leading out of the Alberta tar sands mining complex, increasing how much heavy, toxic tar sands oil can be moved and, possibly, spilled across Wisconsin and into Lake Superior.
Though the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline is now getting all the press and attention, our own oil pipeline is quietly being turned into a mini-XL. (And the Great Lakes may be the next tar sands oil avenue if a new crude oil port is built in Superior.)
More detailed information on the proposed expansion of Line 61 through Wisconsin can be found at this Sierra Club website, including how to send a written public comment to the DNR. Comments will be accepted until May 18. No other public hearings on the pipeline permit are planned in the state, though some are pushing the DNR to allow more hearings and to perform a complete Environmental Assessment on the pipeline expansion.
What follows are links to Eric Hansen’s op-eds related to piping and shipping tar sands oil:
And environmental blogger James Rowen weighs in on the Line 61 expansion as well.
Postscript: Another builder of oil pipelines looking to expand a different pipeline in Canada claims that oil spills can be good for local economies. Hopefully Gov. Walker and state Republicans won’t take up this argument.