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Environmental Impact

Enbridge, a $40 billion Canadian company, wants to expand its pipeline network throughout the Midwest to transport tar sands from the Canadian boreal forests to the Gulf Coast, likely for export. Enbridge Line 61 travels through Wisconsin from Superior to Delavan (click here for map), then crosses the Illinois state line and continues south to refineries. Enbridge is currently tripling the capacity of Line 61 from the original 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.2 million barrels per day—45% more than the Keystone XL would have carried—even as it makes plans to “twin” Line 61, creating a new Line 66 carrying an additional 800,000 bpd through Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted an environmental assessment (EA) of the proposed Line 61 expansion in 2006 and continues to maintain that the EA adequately addresses safety concerns. However, the EA was conducted four years before Enbridge’s Kalamazoo River disaster, the largest inland oil spill in US history. Kalamazoo demonstrated how devastating tar sands spills are as compared with lighter crude oil spills.

To date, the following Wisconsin counties and cities have passed resolutions calling on the DNR to conduct a full environmental impact statement on Line 61:

  • Rock County (December 2014)
  • City of Fort Atkinson (November 2014)
  • City of Whitewater (October 2014)
  • Walworth County( October 2014)
  • Adams County (September 2014)
  • Wood County (July 2014)
  • Dane County (June 2014)
  • Jefferson County (May 2014)