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Environmental groups urge residents to contact DNR about Enbridge pipeline proposal

Enbridge Energy Company, a large Canadian pipeline owner, is proposing to triple the capacity of Line 61, its pipeline that travels through Wisconsin from Superior to Flanagan, Ill., passing near Hawthorne. If approved, the pipeline will increase from an initial 400,000 barrels per day to 1.2 million bpd of tar sands oil.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is considering an air permit for the expansion — the only statewide permit the pipeline needs. Pledge of Resistance-Madison, 350 Madison and Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter are urging citizens to demand the DNR study all impacts, including air, water and climate effects.

“If this planned expansion is allowed, it would carry significantly more tar sands oil than the highly contested Keystone XL” said Dr. Carl Whiting of Pledge of Resistance. “We urge our fellow citizens to tell the DNR to deny the permits for expansion of the Enbridge Line 61, and to instead conduct a full environmental assessment. We also ask citizens to request that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hold public hearings in affected counties on this proposed project and its potential environmental impacts.”

The only public hearing regarding the proposed expansion took place May 5 in Superior.

“This pipeline and its expansion jeopardize Lake Superior, other lakes, rivers and waterways along the route. Citizens should be invited to weigh in on the potential impacts with hearings near the path of the pipeline,” said Elizabeth Ward, conservation programs coordinator for the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter.

The deadline for public comments regarding the air permit (Permit No. 13-DFC-129) is Monday. Wisconsin citizens can email or send regular mail letters to Don C. Faith III, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Air Management, 101 S. Webster Street, Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707-7921, or