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Stop Tar Sands Expansion in Wisconsin!


— What’s New —

350 Madison is Hiring!
We recently received a grant to hire a part-time organizer to ramp up our tar sands campaign. Click here to view the job description. Applications due April 15 by 5 pm.

Dane Co. Zoning & Land Regulation (ZLR) Committee
Unanimous decision by the Dane Co. Zoning and Land Regulation Committee at its April 14 meeting to require Enbridge to purchase special pollution insurance!
Click here for a press release and here for local coverage.

 Attend the Enbridge Tar Sands Resistance Tour
April 20, 3:30pm, UW Whitewater & April 21, 6-9pm, UW Madison

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 current 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 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 sink to the bottom of waterways, making cleanup nearly impossible and exceedingly expensive ($1.2 billion 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. 

Please join us in standing up and saying NO to tar sands!  Dane County is the only county along Line 61 that hasn’t issued a permit for one of the new pump stations that expansion would require. 350 Madison and our allies have pressed the county Zoning and Land Regulation Committee to require Enbridge to buy insurance adequate to protect the county in the event of a spill. Thanks to these efforts, the committee has postponed its decision three times and agreed to hire an independent insurance expert. Every day we avoid pumping more tar sands through Dane County is a win for the climate movement!

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 for regular updates (see at left). You can learn more about tar sands oil here. Information on Enbridge’s tar sands network of pipelines from Canada into Minnesota and Wisconsin can be found here. More information on the specific proposals for Wisconsin can be found 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.