By Peter Anderson, 350 Madison
After a 3-year-long fight, the Enbridge pipeline company received its final permit from Dane County for its Waterloo pumping station in the town of Medina on Thursday.
This doesn’t mean the fight is over. As far as 350 Madison is concerned, Enbridge and its infrastructure remain in the bull’s-eye.
And it’s a fight we still think we can win. For one thing, the permit only came after a protracted battle, which Enbridge was in danger of losing until some unknown party seemingly traded political contributions for an 11th-hour state budget amendment intended to override the right of counties to require cleanup insurance.
For another, 350 Madison and our allies are litigating against this budget amendment in the courts. Moreover, this expansion of Enbridge’s existing tar sands pipeline—Line 61—was just a trial run for the far bigger fight coming in 2018, when this company, with the very worst safety record, plans to build a whole new tar sands oil pipeline (Line 66).
In 2011, climate organizations across the country began opposing pipelines intended to open up the landlocked Alberta tar sands oil deposits for exploitation, beginning with TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. At the same time that scientists warn we have 20–30 years to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, the increasingly obsolete oil industry is irrationally seeking to open up this whole new oil field, third only to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, which releases about four times as much greenhouse gas emissions per barrel as conventional oil.
After the Keystone XL pipeline through the Great Plains faced defeat, Enbridge sought to exploit that opening by expanding its tar sands oil pipelines through the Midwest, including Wisconsin.
If we are to protect a livable world for our children and grandchildren, this insanity—all of it, everywhere—has to stop. Yet with gridlock in Washington, that means citizens must stand up wherever they are and act.
We shall fight Enbridge in the zoning hearings, we shall grapple with them in the courts, we shall battle them in the legislature, and, if necessary, when all that is exhausted, we shall lay our bodies down against their bulldozers in the path of the next pipeline. But, to protect our children, we can never surrender, and no more Enbridge pipelines will be built through Wisconsin.