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Enbridge: Pipe plans don't include Walworth County

August 19, 2014 | 02:37 PM
Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership plans to triple the flow of petroleum products through one of its Wisconsin pipelines apparently will not affect Walworth County directly.

Enbridge, a Canadian company that owns pipelines that run through Wisconsin and the Midwest, earlier this year filed notice that it will increase the flow through a pipeline that runs from Superior to a pump station called the Delavan station.

The station is in fact about 10 miles northwest of the city of Delavan in the Rock County town of Lima.

Enbridge is proposing to expand in phases the average annual capacity of its Line 61 to an ultimate 1.2 million barrel per day.

Becky Haase, an Enbridge spokeswoman, told the Regional News that the increased flow will only go through one of the Rock County pipelines, labeled line 61. Haase said the line is designed to hold that level of flow.

Line 61 is a 42-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline that extends from Enbridge’s terminal in Superior to the company’s Flanagan Terminal near Pontiac, Ill.

The line runs between one and two miles west of the Walworth County line. To increase Line 61’s capacity to its full 1.2 million barrels per day design capacity in Wisconsin, Enbridge plans to construct or modify three pump stations in Douglas County, two in Wood County, and one each in Sawyer, Rusk, Chippewa, Clark, Adams, Columbia, and Dane counties, along with the so-called Delavan station in Rock County.

Three more stations in Illinois will also be modified.

All work is to be performed on property that is owned or acquired in fee by Enbridge. The project does not require pipeline construction.

Subject to permit and regulatory approvals, the pipeline would be operating at capacity by 2015.

Four lines enter into and then extend from the Delavan pump station, two due south through Rock County that run roughly parallel to the Walworth County line to Flanagan, Ill. and two that angle off south through Walworth County to Mokena, Ill.

Dave Siebert, director of the state DNR bureau of environmental analysis and sustainability, confirmed Haase’s statement.

“Nothing about the plan includes Walworth County,” Siebert said in a recent interview.

However, Charlene Staples, a Walworth County Board supervisor, said she’s going through with her resolution calling for the state DNR to provide the public with more information and allow for more public comment on Enbridge’s plan to increase the flow of petrochemicals in its underground pipeline 61 from 400,000 barrels a day to 1.2 million barrels.

It also calls on the state to closely examine all of the potential environmental impacts the increased flow might have on state’s ecology. Introduced on July 14, the resolution states, in part: “It is important to have more public hearings and opportunities for public comment as well as a full environmental statement regarding the proposed increase in flow.”

The resolution passed the land conservation committee in July. It will go to the county board in September.

Jefferson and Dane counties have already passed resolutions calling for the state to increase public awareness about the potential effects of allowing Enbridge to increase its pipeline’s rate of flow.

Staples said she’s concerned because she believes Enbridge has a bad safety record in the U.S. The company has had two pipeline breaks in Wisconsin, one in Rusk County and another in Clark County.

Enbridge claims that it has a 99.9993 percent safe delivery record over the past decade, while moving nearly 14 billion barrels of crude. The company boasts that it moves 2.2 million barrels of crude oil and liquids every day.

The state DNR has had one public hearing on the Enbridge proposal in Superior on May 5. More hearings were not required by state law.

In fact, according to Siebert, no additional hearings are required regarding the increase in flow. Permits were needed for alterations to some of the pumping stations along the pipeline’s path, he said.

Petroleum pipelines traditionally carry a variety of petroleum products, sometimes lighter oils, and sometimes heavier crude.

Since new technology has allowed economical access to oil trapped in what are called tar sands, another grade of oil, called dilbit, short for diluted bitumen, is being transported through pipelines.


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