Is it any wonder Lee Monthei of Enbridge Energy would talk about safety in his recent guest column?
Enbridge has had more than 800 spills in its pipeline systems in the last 15 years, according to the Polaris Institute. So this is a sore point. It reminds me of President Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” line. We all know how that worked out.
Monthei asserts the company's pipelines now are very safe. That same claim was made by an Enbridge executive at a congressional hearing prior to the 2010 Michigan disaster. And a number of residents take issue with his contention that it has been successfully cleaned up.
Do pipelines make things safer? The volumes pipelines carry enable increased tar sands mining. Ask the indigenous people of Canada, known as First Nations, who live in tar sands mining areas about their cancer rates and other illness. Ask them how mining impacts them. Vast areas of boreal forests have been turned into wastelands, and toxic waste ponds kill migratory birds.
When the Keystone XL pipeline was proposed, scientist James Hansen said the added tar sands extraction would mean “game over” for the climate. The increase projected for line 61 in Wisconsin approaching what the Keystone XL would carry.
Now Enbridge is proposing another large pipeline in Wisconsin. The real issue is that tar sands are the most carbon intensive fossil fuels on earth.
-- Don Ferber, Madison