White Earth Reservation, MN - September 5th, 2013 - On Wednesday, September 4th the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted to authorize a contested case review on the expansion of the “Alberta Clipper” pipeline, also known as Line 67, which is owned by Enbridge Inc. Enbridge plans to invest $159 million in extra pumping stations to increase capacity by 40 percent to 800,000 barrels per day. In July, Enbridge won PUC approval for a smaller capacity increase in which Honor the Earth’s executive director, Winona LaDuke put forward testimony opposing such actions:
“Line 67 transports tar sands, more specifically, dilbit- diluted bitumen. Dilbit oil requires higher temperatures and more pressure to move the thick sludge and creates a much larger risk of pipe corrosion, significantly increasing the likelihood of spillage. Tar sands oil is 15-20 times higher in acidity than conventional oil and up to 7 times as viscous (thicker and greater volume)…. Expanding pipeline carrying capacity poses an extreme risk for the wetlands of northern Minnesota. This will be an ecological risk, and will be a huge risk to property owners in the North Country, whether tribal governments, tribal members, or any Minnesotan, including those who have an interest in public lands traversed by the pipeline.”
The next step for Enbridge is to appear before an administrative law judge where a contested case hearing will take place. During this hearing Enbridge will have the opportunity to present legal arguments before a judge who will issue findings, the decision on whether to approve Enbridge’s request will be left for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. In the coming months a number of environmental organizations will be opposing the expansion, citing economic, environmental and social impacts.
Honor the Earth this week is hosting three benefit concerts with the Indigo Girls, a Grammy award winning duo- in Madison, Wisconsin, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Bayfield Wisconsin, where the Enbridge pipeline will be discussed in information and literature. As well, Honor will launch a new set of billboards – on I-35 south of Duluth and on Highway 2 east of Bemidji, regarding the proposed Enbridge expansions. Honor the Earth is also concerned about the newly proposed Sandpiper pipeline intended to carry Bakken, North Dakota field fracked oil through Clearwater, Hubbard and a number of other counties. Enbridge employees are now surveying and intend to purchase 2,000 easements in these counties in the upcoming months. The new Sandpiper line will carry a highly volatile substance of which the most recent explosions were evidenced by the vaporizing of 40 buildings and 47 people in the town of Lac-Mégantic. Quebec. As well, recent publications have documented widespread water contamination issues as a result of the aggressive fracking in the Bakken Oil Fields. The Sandpiper line is also an Enbridge project.
For more information contact Honor the Earth Program Coordinator Thomas Ferrarell at
[email protected] or 218-375-3200