Dear Editor: Eric Hansen had it exactly right in his opinion piece, “Sand oil pipelines threaten Wisconsin,” in calling out the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry for granting approval to Enbridge’s expansion plans without thorough federal review.
Enbridge’s Line 61 carries tar sands oil through Minnesota into Wisconsin and from there to the Gulf. Although some of the oil is refined and used in the Midwest, the majority is exported to the world market.
Enbridge is attempting to triple Line 61’s original capacity, from 400,000 to an unprecedented 1.2 million barrels per day. To achieve that flow rate, Enbridge is installing more pump stations to increase pressure in the pipeline. Given that the potential for rupture increases with pressure — and that many Enbridge pipelines have spilled in the past — we have serious concerns that higher pressure in Line 61 will increase spill risk. What’s more, Enbridge apparently now hopes to build a Line 61 “twin” that would increase total capacity to 2 million bpd.
Many Wisconsinites are scratching their heads over why our state should bear the risks of Enbridge’s expansion plans. Landowners fear losing their property through eminent domain when Enbridge seeks expanded easements. A spill could result in significant property damage, severe health effects, and the fouling of our rivers, trout streams, and water supplies. The phrase “All Risk, No Reward” says it all.
Mary Beth Elliott
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