A Canada-based company will have to wait at least a month to get the last necessary permits for planned upgrades to a pipeline running through Wisconsin.
Enbridge Energy’s plans to triple capacity of its Line 61 hit a snag at Tuesday’s Dane County Zoning and Land Regulation Committee meeting when members opted to delay a decision on permits necessary to upgrade a pumping station near Marshall.
The committee delayed action to give county staff more time to draft conditions that could be tied to Enbridge’s permits.
The desire for environmental assurances stems from a 2010 spill that polluted 35 miles of Michigan’s Kalamazoo River and led to an ongoing cleanup effort with an estimated price tag of $1.21 billion.
Committee members discussed requiring surety bonds and an environmental impact study on Tuesday.
The Calgary-based company has insisted that local governments can’t impose financial guarantees because pipeline safety is regulated exclusively by federal law. But county attorney David Gault believes it’s in the county’s purview to regulate cleanup of spills.
The Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin carries tar sands petroleum from Superior to the Illinois border. The company wants to increase capacity to 1.2 billion barrels a day by adding horsepower to 12 pumping stations.
Upgrades to the pumping stations would raise the operating pressure of the pipeline to around 1,000 pounds per square inch (psi). It currently operates between 700 and 800 psi and is designed for operation up to 1,275 psi.
Enbridge has already received local permits for upgrading the other 11 pumping stations.
Committee chairman Patrick Miles said the matter was unlikely to return to the committee before December.