Important Upcoming Dates for Tar Sands Campaign
IMPORTANT DATE CHANGE: The Zoning and Land Regulation Committee will again take up the conditional use permit at their Jan. 13, 2015 MEETING (MOVED OFF THE DEC. 23 MEETING. Public testimony will not be allowed at this meeting but we encourage people to again attend. If you have not already done so, we encourage everyone to submit comments to the Zoning and Land Regulation committee. Be sure to state that you are writing to oppose CUP 02291 for Enbridge Energy Company, which was before the Committee on October 28 and Nov. 11.
We have been asked to explain what limits constrain Dane County’s ability to outright reject approval of the pump station near Marshall needed to increase the capacity of the Enbridge pipeline through Wisconsin carrying tar sands oil to 1.2 million barrels per day.
The answer is that, under the Interstate Commerce and Supremacy clauses of the US Constitution, state and local governments may neither impose their own safety requirements on the pipe nor outright reject pipelines approved by a federal agency called the Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration.
However, that does not mean state and local governments are without any power. Rather there is shared responsibility over the pipeline with states having authority over siting and, along with localities, environmental and health related standards and clean up issues.
For that reason, while groups like 350-Madison and the John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club may have deep concerns over the climate issues raised by tapping Alberta tar sands, when they work with county zoning authorities over permits for the line and pumping stations, they are limited to those environmental matters. Since counties have no legal authority to outright reject a tar sands pipeline, it would not be productive to petition them to do so. Indeed, even if we were able to convince a county to reject a local zoning permit for a tar sands pipeline, that action would be overturned in federal court.
Another HUGE thanks to those who emailed comments and attended the Nov. 11 Zoning and Land Regulation working committee meeting. The committee bravely postponed a decision on the Enbridge Line 61 pumping station permit in Dane County as they explore conditions that the county could put on the permit.
THANK YOU to all those who testified, registered in opposition and emailed comments to the Dane County Supervisors for the Oct. 28 hearing. We had a great turn out!
Judy Skog’s letter to the editor in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel can be found here.
Mary Beth Elliott’s op-ed on Enbridge Line 61 can be found here.
Eric Hansen’s op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel can be found here.
WI State Journal article on conditional use permit can be found here.
Previous: November 6-Many thanks to Prof. Eric Compass and the students of UW-Whitewater for organizing a great public forum on Enbridge Pipeline 61 and related corridor, potential spills and the relation to global climate change. Representatives from 350Madison, Sierra Club, Enbridge and WI DNR all presented.
The Daily Union’s coverage of the UW-Whitwater Line 61 forum can be found here.
WKOW, Channel 27’s coverage of the UW-Whitwater Line 61 forum can be found here.
Action taken in Wisconsin on Enbridge Line 61
December 11, 2014: Rock County passes a resolution for full environmental impact statement on Line 61 (unanimously with 2 abstentions).
December 8, 2014: City of Janesville considering a resolution on Line 61. UPDATE: City of Janesville did not approve the resolution with a vote of 4-2.
November 2014: City of Fort Atkinson passes a resolution for full environmental impact statement on Line 61.
October 2014: City of Whitewater passes a resolution for full environmental impact statement on Line 61.
October 2014: Walworth County Board passes a resolution for full environmental impact statement on Line 61.
July 2014: Wood County Board passes resolution for full environmental impact statement on Line 61.
June 2014: Dane County Board passes resolution for full environmental impact statement on Line 61.
May 2014: Jefferson County Board passes resolution for full environmental assessment on Line 61.
350Madison is working with the WISE (Wisconsin for Safer Energy) Alliance to oppose the Enbridge pipeline expansion efforts described above.
Stop Tar Sands Expansion in Wisconsin
Enbridge Energy Company, a large Canadian pipeline owner, has announced plans to expand their pipeline network throughout the Midwest in order to transport toxic tar sands from the boreal forests in Canada to the Gulf Coasts, likely for export. Aggressive campaigns on the East Coast and West Coast have stopped plans to export this oil. In turn, Enbridge is seeking to make the Midwest a tar sands freeway to get the oil south. You can learn more about tar sands oil here.
The continued expansion of tar sands extraction and infrastructure would mean “game over for the climate” according to top climate scientist James Hansen. We must stand up and say NO to tar sands!
While the overseas oil markets see the benefits, Wisconsinites are expected to take all the risks.
The Enbridge pipeline system enters WI in Superior. One of the Enbridge pipelines, Line 61, part of the Enbridge Lakehead Pipeline System, travels from Superior to Delavan (click here for map). The pipeline then crosses over the Illinois state line and continues south where the tar sands are distributed to refineries. Enbridge has proposed to triple the capacity of Line 61.
In addition, the newest pipeline proposals from Enbridge are for an expansion of Line 3, which runs from Canada to Superior, WI and to build a new pipeline, the Sandpiper, from North Dakota, across MN, then to Superior. The Sandpiper would carry fracked oil.