Wisconsin pipeline for tar sands oil slurry to expand capacity
Dr. Carl Whiting, with the Wisconsin Safe Energy Alliance (WSEA), will discuss the Enbridge pipeline expansion in Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, at the Jensen Center in Amherst.
Sponsored by Tomorrow River Chautauqua, the program is free and open to the public.
Enbridge, a company based in Alberta, Canada, is seeking to expand its pumping of Alberta tar sands oil slurry through Wisconsin from a 2009 total of 400,000 barrels a day to 1.2 million barrels in 2016.
Wisconsin cities through which the line passes include Ladysmith, Sheldon, Marshfield, Adams, Portage, Waterloo and Delavan.
This is far more oil than the controversial Keystone pipeline was expected to carry before being denied permits due to environmental concerns. Enbridge is not required to get federal environmental permits for this cross border expansion because it will use the existing pipeline, increasing the size of the pumps being used, the pressure on the lines and the rate of flow.
Spokesmen for Enbridge note that the line meets federal standards for pumping, but critics like WESA maintain that Enbridge has a record of poor performance including the worst oil pipeline spill in history at Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2010. In that spill, 20,000 barrels of tar sands crude fouled 25 miles of the Kalamazoo River, resulting in an ongoing cleanup that has cost $1.6 billion to date.
Because of the toxic solvents mixed with the tar sands slurry to make pumping possible, industry experts acknowledge that cleanups are more difficult and long term affects are unknown.