HOUSTON, Texas — Dane County Sup. Patrick Miles is wrong about Enbridge’s efforts to obtain a conditional use permit for the Waterloo Pump Station. In his July 20 guest column, he claimed the company was involved in legislation prohibiting local governments from imposing insurance requirements on pipeline projects.
The claim that Enbridge made a “legislative end run” around Dane County’s permitting process is untrue. Enbridge was not involved in the drafting of the insurance provision, nor did the company support or advocate for it as part of the state budget.
The documents cited to support this claim pertain to an entirely different provision in the state budget. Here, Enbridge representatives did work with the Legislature on a provision related to the types of business entities that can seek condemnation authority. This provision simply updates a decades-old statute to reflect today’s current business models.
It does not, as is claimed, expand or increase the power to condemn property. It merely brings clarity to the regulatory process without changing authority that already existed in law.
The efforts of the Legislature aside, Enbridge has been and remains committed to working with Dane County and other communities on permitting projects.
Following approval of the conditional use permit by the Dane County Zoning and Land Regulation Committee in April, Enbridge filed an appeal with the County Board. The appeal was necessary for two primary reasons: First, the insurance requirements in the permit were unnecessary because Enbridge — not Dane County — is responsible for responding to and paying for any release on its system. Enbridge carries $860 million in general liability insurance, which includes sudden and accidental pollution liability. And up to $1 billion is available through a federal trust fund. Second, the unusual type of insurance required may not always be available and can be limited by other factors in the insurance market. If Enbridge cannot get or keep the insurance, it would be out of compliance with the permit.
Enbridge has fully participated in and adhered to the county’s permitting process — one that started more than one year ago when a building permit was issued, only to be delayed when that permit was replaced by a conditional use permit.
After a year of delay and study, we continued to abide by the permitting process. As recently as two week ago, we were prepared to make our case for the appeal.
Enbridge also has engaged those who would be affected by construction, including the town of Medina. We listened to and addressed the community’s concerns. And through agreements related to emergency berm capacity, lighting, independent monitoring at Enbridge’s expense and emergency response plans, the same was done with Dane County.
Enbridge and its more than 550 employees in the state have been a part of Wisconsin for decades, long before I started with the company in Superior in 1986, and the company will continue to be a critical part of the Great Lakes states’ energy supply for many decades to come. Our top priority is the safety of our pipelines. Our goal is zero incidents, and across Enbridge we have invested billions to safeguard the integrity of our facilities.
In the event of a release, we are committed to doing what’s right: We’ll respond. We’ll clean up. We’ll bear all the costs.