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13 million barrels of tar sands crude could be shipped annually on Lake Superior

Milwaukee author Eric Hansen writes in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, “Whether you see Lake Superior and other Wisconsin waters as poetry or commodity, proposals for a massive expansion of tar sands crude oil shipments on and around the Great Lakes do not make sense. Among the waters vulnerable to Canadian pipeline company Enbridge’s ill-advised plans are Lakes Superior and Michigan as well as the Bois Brule, Namekagon, Chippewa, Wisconsin, Fox and Rock rivers.”

“The tar sands project itself is a vast swath of northern Alberta, Canada; once pristine, now a notably polluted industrial landscape. This particularly dirty crude oil is already criticized for its role in magnifying climate issues and extreme weather. Now, the tar sands emerge as a serious threat to Earth’s finest collection of freshwater: Lake Superior and the upper Great Lakes.”

“Enbridge’s pipeline 67, the linchpin of the whole plan, runs from Alberta to Superior. Its proposal doubles its capacity to 880,000 barrels per day. At Superior, the pipeline splits. One pipeline bisects Wisconsin on its way to Delavan before continuing south. Some of its crude oil would go to Chicago-area refineries; most is destined for ports and refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Another pipeline runs eastward from Superior, before crossing under the Straits of Mackinac to connect to Detroit-area refineries — and others on the Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, Calumet Specialties, a Superior refiner, wants to ship 13 million barrels per year of crude oil across Lake Superior and through the Great Lakes on barges.”

“Enbridge’s record merits alarm. Just 150 miles east of Milwaukee, our nation’s largest inland crude oil spill began on July 25, 2010, devastating the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich. Cleanup is still incomplete; costs are passing the billion-dollar mark. For 17 hours, through three shift changes and multiple alarms going off, Enbridge employees in their Calgary, Alberta, control room did not shut down the pipeline. That only happened when a Michigan utility worker called. Meanwhile, 840,000 gallons of crude oil spilled.”

Hansen concludes, “Wisconsinites should say no… Insist that federal and state permits for the Enbridge line 67 expansion, the oil barges and other hazardous crude oil proposals be denied.”

For more, please read:

Wisconsin waters threatened by tar sands crude oil expansion
LaDuke opposes Line 67 pipeline
Detroit Free Press opposes Alberta Clipper expansion, shipments on Lake Superior