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Stop Tar Sands Expansion in Wisconsin!


— What’s New —

350 Madison Petitions Dane Co. Zoning Committee to Rescind!
350 Madison has petitioned the Dane Co. Zoning and Land Regulation (ZLR) Committee to rescind its April 21 conditional use permit for Enbridge’s tar sands pumping station near Marshall. The GOP legislature’s 11th-hour amendment to the state budget barred Dane Co. from imposing its precedent-setting condition requiring $25 million in special pollution insurance. 350 Madison is proposing to substitute a new requirement for a $25 million trust fund. The ZLR has asked staff to place the 350 Madison petition on the agenda for a future meeting ASAP! Read a press release here, the petition here, a Wisconsin Gazette article here, and stay tuned!

Midwest Unrest Tar Sands Action in Washington, DC

On August 25th, climate change activists from across the country will converge in Washington, DC to call on Secretary Kerry to stop the Alberta Clipper.  Midwest Unrest, a youth-centered climate change organization, is leading the action and some participants will risk arrest.  Supporters of all ages are needed and welcome.  Buses and housing will be subsidized and all those who are considering civil disobedience must attend the training on August 24th.  350MN is organizing a bus that will stop in Madison.  Join this energizing event or donate at Midwest Unrest.

Oil Spills: Where Environmental and Personal Meet
A moving Sierra Club blog post conveys the power of the July 25 5th-anniversary commemoration of the Kalamazoo oil spill disaster: “When environmental disaster strikes, it not only hurts the planet, but it hurts us as human beings…. [A]s a nation it is time for us to start building communities rather than building pipelines.”

“Enbridge’s legislative end run”
Op-ed by Dane Co. Zoning Committee Chair Patrick Miles
Zoning Committee Chair Patrick Miles writes about Enbridge’s successful behind-the-scenes maneuvers to get the committee’s precedent-setting insurance provision upended and give Enbridge the right to condemn citizens’ property. The WI State Journal also picked up the piece: Patrick Miles: State Budget provision put Enbridge before citizen

“GOP usurpation of local control to help Enbridge”
Op-ed by Dane Co. Zoning Committee member Mary Kohler

Mary Kohler, a Dane Co. supervisor who sits on the Zoning & Land Regulation Committee, writes about the Republications’ nullification of the zoning committee’s landmark insurance requirement.

Thousands rally against tar sands pipeline expansion!
On Saturday, June 6, an estimated 5,000 protesters marched in St. Paul against proposed Enbridge pipeline expansion. Check out this inspiring video and this vivid account of the event!

350 Madison’s Peter Anderson Debates Enbridge’s Mark Maki!
View it here!

New York Times Op-Ed on Line 61!
The Other Pipeline You Should Worry About: It’s Not Just Keystone XL, It’s Also Line 61


Most people have heard of the Keystone XL pipeline and the threat it poses to the climate and the environment. Much less well known is the fact that the world’s largest pipeline carries toxic tar sands oil right through Wisconsin, including Dane County. 350 Madison invites you to join the fight against tar sands expansion in Wisconsin!

Enbridge, a $40 billion Canadian company, wants to expand its pipeline network throughout the Midwest to transport tar sands from the Canadian boreal forests to the Gulf Coast, likely for export. With aggressive campaigns on the East and West Coasts opposing export plans, Enbridge is seeking to make the Midwest a tar sands freeway to get the oil south.

Enbridge Line 61 travels through Wisconsin from Superior to Delavan (click here for map), then crosses the Illinois state line and continues south to refineries. Enbridge wants to triple the capacity of Line 61 from the original 400,000 barrels per day to 1.2 million barrels per day—45% more than the Keystone XL would carry.

While the overseas oil markets would see the benefits, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states would take all the risks. Enbridge has been responsible for more than 800 spills since 1999, including the largest inland oil pipeline spill in U.S. history— the 2010 Kalamazoo River disaster. As Kalamazoo made clear, tar sands spills are even more devastating than classic crude oil spills. Tar sands oil must be diluted with toxic chemicals to allow it to flow through a pipeline. With a spill, these chemicals evaporate, sickening people in surrounding areas. Meanwhile, the heavy tar sands oil sinks to the bottom of waterways, making cleanup nearly impossible and exceedingly expensive ($1.2 billion and counting for Kalamazoo).

Section of pipe from Kalamazoo spill c National Transportation Safety Board-thumb-500x375-7203-thumb-500x375-7204

Tar sands oil is also far more carbon-polluting than conventional fossil fuels. Top climate scientist James Hansen has said that continued expansion of tar sands extraction means “game over for the climate.”

Enbridge’s plans don’t stop with Line 61. The company also proposes to expand Line 3, which runs from Canada to Superior, and to build a new pipeline, the Sandpiper, which would carry fracked Bakken oil from North Dakota, across Minnesota, to Superior. What’s more, Enbridge says the company will need to “twin” Line 61 to “clear the bottleneck” that an expanded Line 3 and new Sandpiper pipeline would create—a plan confirmed in the company’s First-Quarter 2015 Earnings Presentation, which includes a map showing a “Line 61 Twin” going from Superior, WI, to Flanagan, IL.

Please join us in standing up and saying NO to tar sands! 350 Madison has played a key role in the fight against the Midwest tar sands invasion. In Dane County, our determined intervention convinced the county Zoning and Land Regulation Committee to require Enbridge to obtain special environmental cleanup insurance as a condition on the zoning permit the company needs to expand its Line 61 capacity in the county. (For more on this precedent-setting decision, see 350 Madison’s Wisconsin Pipeline Blog.) Going forward, we’ll be working to mobilize citizens up and down Line 61—and the Line 61 Twin—to say NO to Enbridge’s “all risk—no benefit” plans for Wisconsin and the entire Great Lakes region.

Help Us Keep the Pressure On!

To be informed about future developments and opportunities to take action, sign up for the 350 Madison email list. Follow 350 Madison’s Wisconsin Pipeline Blog to stay current on the fight against the tar sands invasion in Dane County and beyond. You can learn more about tar sands oil, Enbridge’s tar sands network of pipelines in the Great Lakes region, and specific proposals for Wisconsin here. For more on the Kalamazoo River disaster and the hazards of diluted bitumen, see the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of and a 2013 update, The Dilbit Disaster 3 Years Later: Sunken Oil Is Looming Threat to Kalamazoo River.

2 responses

  1. […] permit are planned in the state, though some are pushing the DNR to allow more hearings and to perform a complete Environmental Assessment on the pipeline […]