Monday, September 1, 2014

Tar Sands Pipeline in Great Lakes Region Challenged by NWF

Enbridge has quietly secured approval from the US State Department to significantly increase its transport of Canadian tar sands into the Great Lakes region.

Enbridge will almost double the flow of tar sands oil transported in its Clipper Pipeline (aka Line 67).Enbridge's Clipper pipeline serves as the corridor between Alberta's tar sands and Line 6A.

The amount of heavy oil that will flow through the pipeline by 2015 is equivalent to the Keystone XL.

A document posted by the US Department of State on August 18, 2014 refers to the proposed Enbridge Energy, Line 67 Capacity Expansion Project (2013 NOI). In this request the document notes Enbridge's intention to operate its existing Line 67, "at the pipeline’s full design capacity..."

The document goes on to say,

"Since that time, Enbridge has amended and supplemented its November 2012 application. In June 2014, Enbridge informed the Department that Enbridge intends to increase pumping capacity outside of the Line 67 ‘‘border segment’’ (the portion of Line 67 from the Canadian border to the first main line shut-off valve, which is the segment that would be covered by a Presidential Permit), and to interconnect Line 67 with another Enbridge line (Line 3) on either side of the border segment. Enbridge is proceeding with certain elements of these plans. Enbridge submitted documents for public release in July 2014 which can be found at http:// applicants/c55571.htm.

The June 16, 2014 Enbridge application reads as follows:

"[T]he annual average capacity of Line 67 in the United States be increased up to 570,000 bpd by mid-2014 (referred to as “Phase I”), and up to 800,000 bpd by mid-2015"

The NWF has challenged the legality of such a scheme indicating that:

"Federal law requires the State Department to approve any such change only if the following requirements have been met: (1) public notice and involvement, (2) a detailed environmental review, and (3) a national interest determination. This is the process governing review of the Keystone XL pipeline. But here, none of these requirements have been followed."

The NWF article expresses concern that such an increase would present significant spill risks to wildlife and people as well as increasing climate change causing emissions. There is a recent example to support these concerns. The BP Whiting refinery in Indiana spilled between 470 and 1228 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan on March 24, 2014.

In light of these concerns and legal irregularities the NWF makes the following demand:

"The State Department must immediately correct this illegal mistake and stop Enbridge from any tar sands expansion along the Alberta Clipper line until the law has been followed. A failure to do so violates both the law and President Obama’s commitment to ensure that tar sands pipeline projects not exacerbate the problem of climate change."

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