Environmentalists are raising concerns about a pair of proposed pipeline projects in northwestern Wisconsin.
Enbridge wants to build a new crude oil pipeline and expand an existing one, both of which would run through Douglas County from the Minnesota border to Superior. Elizabeth Ward with the Sierra Club says that puts them dangerously close to precious Wisconsin water resources. She says that “even though it’s only 13 or so miles in Wisconsin, any rupture could be pretty serious.”
Enbridge plan calls for construction of a new pipeline, dubbed “Sandpiper,” which will be part of a new 616 mile line from Tioga, North Dakota to Superior. It will deliver Bakken light crude oil to U.S. and eastern Canadian refineries. The other project is a replacement of the exisiting “Line 3,” which runs between Neche, North Dakota and Superior, Wisconsin.
Ward says one of the pipelines carries tar sands from Canada, which can be extremely difficult to clean-up if a spill occurs. Both would feed into Enbridge’s larger Line 61, which runs through Wisconsin to Illinois.
An Enbridge spokesperson says “safety is the cornerstone of our business,” and that the company “has always taken an aggressive, proactive approach to pipeline integrity management. We focus on the conditions that have been known to cause pipeline failures in the past, and then we work to minimize the risk. ”
The state Department of Natural Resources is currently seeking public comment on the projects through September 30th.