Sunday, July 5, 2020

Pressure builds in WI, MI vs. Enbridge tar sands line

With a long history of oil spills in Wisconsin, nearby Michigan and elsewhere, the WI DNR should take the public's online opposition and presentations to heart and work towards shutting down Enbridge's Pipeline 5 which the Bad River Tribe wants out of the watershed - 
"When it comes to the Bad River Tribe and Enbridge’s latest public manipulation strategy, to throw monetary terms around in the media, our Tribal Council's position has never wavered," says [tribal chief Mike] Wiggins. 
"Enbridge’s expired leases were rejected and our litigation is rooted in the protection of the Bad River Watershed hydrology. Whatever that ends up looking like for Enbridge is their problem. Decommissioning and removing the whole of Line 5 sounds like a great start."
And also because the pipeline threatens the Great Lakes regionally:
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement Friday, saying was “deeply troubled” by the most recent discovery of damage to the Line 5 pipeline. 
“Yet again, Enbridge has confirmed what we already know — Line 5 is a clear and present danger to our Great Lakes and to the millions of Michiganders who rely on those lakes for recreation, business and tourism,” Nessel wrote in the statement. 
Both [Governor Gretchen] Whitmer and Nessel campaigned on shutting down Line 5. The two government officials this year lost a legal battle with Enbridge over the future of its Line 5 pipeline. 
The Michigan Court of Appeals last week upheld the company’s legal victory against Whitmer and Nessel in the state Court of Claims from last October, which found that a controversial 2018 law allowing construction of a new Enbridge oil pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac is constitutional.
However, there a newer, temporary shutdown order has been lodged by Michigan authorities.
Line 5 runs along a 645-mile (1,040-kilometre) route from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, transporting as much as 540,000 barrels a day of light crude and synthetic crude, and natural gas liquids that are refined into propane. 
The pipeline was built in 1953 and consists mostly of 30-inch diameter pipe. It splits into two 20-inch diameter lines for the 4.5-mile section that runs under the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron
Michigan officials no doubt remember the company's $1.2 billion Kalamazoo [Michigan] catastrophe, reprised in this 2019 report.
It took the energy company seventeen hours to notice the spill. As the pipeline discharged, more than twenty thousand barrels—843,000 gallons—of oil flowed directly into Talmadge Creek, a tributary that carried the oil into the Kalamazoo River. Marshall residents began to notice a smell creeping through the town.
And Michigan authorities surely understand that even after the company signed an agreement to do better once the clean-up was over, Enbridge still failed to carry out pipeline inspections it had agreed to perform:
The Canadian oil pipeline company responsible for one of the largest inland oil spills on record has agreed to pay a $1.8 million fine for failing to thoroughly inspect its pipelines for weaknesses as required under a 2016 agreement. 
Federal officials say Enbridge, Inc., did not carry out timely and thorough inspections on one of its pipeline systems, as it had agreed to do as part of a consent decree reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice.
Why should WI and MI do this dance with such a bad partner? Why should the Bad River tribe and its watershed live under the continuing threat?

The WI DNR is through its webpage on the project proposal is accepting written comments through July 11
A public comment period is currently open for the proposed Line 5 relocation project. Written comments can be submitted by email comments to DNROEEACOMMENTS@WI.GOV, or mail comments to "Line 5 Comments EA/7," 101 South Webster Street, Madison, WI 53707. All written comments must be submitted or postmarked by no later than July 11, 2020.
Note also that the organization Madison350 has been protesting these pipeline expansions for years. 

Click image for information about our Anti Tar Sands initiative

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