Dane County officials will consider this week whether to give the OK for an expansion Waterloo pumping station to triple volume in an oil pipeline that runs through Wisconsin.
Enbridge is requesting a conditional use permit on land owned by Wisconsin Electric Power Company to expand its existing station to a new 10,000 square foot utility building to house four 6,000 hp electric pumps in the town of Medina.
The Dane County Zoning and Land Regulations Committee will take up the request at 7 p.m. on Tuesday
Last month the committee postponed a decision on the petition because of public opposition, and asked Enbridge to provide insurance/bonding to guarantee cleanup if an oil spill occurred.
The request is part of the company’s plan to increase oil volume transport from 400,000 barrels to 1.2 million barrels a day on Line 61 which runs from Superior to Northern Illinois.
Enbridge officials say the expansion will benefit local economies by providing temporary jobs, increasing tax revenue and supporting local businesses during construction.
The project has been met with criticism from environmentalists who fear the increased oil flow may make the pipeline more susceptible to ruptures, releasing toxic chemicals into the air, water and ground. Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental group, reports that since 1999, Enbridge has had 800 spills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Enbridge had a 30-inch pipeline rupture in July 2010, which released 843,000 gallons of oil, contaminating Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Clean-up efforts were continuing until 2014, but Enbridge officials said they not only paid for the clean-up (along with insurance money) but remain available to Michigan officials to assist further if necessary.
Town of Medina officials recommended the conditional use permit to the county. County officials said approvals have been granted from the other 11 municipalities for additional pumping stations needed for the Line 61 upgrades. While some municipalities required screening and buffering of the project, none required insurance or bonding for spills and leaks.
On the WKOW TV public affairs program “Capital City Sunday”, County Zoning Committee Chair Patrick Miles told Greg Neumann of WKOW Channel 27 that it was too early to predict what the committee might require in terms of additional insurance.
An Enbridge official said on the same program that “all options remain on the table” if the committee rejects the request. Among the options is an Enbridge lawsuit against the county, which Miles said on “Capital City Sunday” remains a possibility if the committee does not give final approval to Enbridge.
The Dane County Zoning and Land Regulations Committee meeting is 7 p.m. at Tuesday, Jan. 27 at the City-County Building Room 201. Agenda/packet information is available at www.countyofdane.com <http://www.countyofdane.com> .