The Dangers Of Tar Sands Oil – In Wisconsin

  • Tar Sands

Tar Sands Oil is coming to Wisconsin. Last Thursday the state DNR approved an air permit to triple the capacity of the pipeline between Superior and the Illinois state line.

Construction could start as soon as Friday on three new storage tanks near Superior.

Environmentalists are not happy with this decision. The DNR received 200 written comments and 3400 e-mails asking for a complete environmental review of the project. However, the DNR decided not to do the complete review.

This pipeline has been used since 2009 and now carries 400,000 barrels of oil a day. By the year 2016 Enbridge (operator of the pipeline) would like to ship three times that amount, making it larger than the Keystone XL line.

Line 61 moves dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to outside the USA. Wisconsin does not use this oil, but takes the high risk of water and air pollution.

Pipeline No. 61 goes from Superior to Hawthorne, Minong, Stone Lake, Ladysmith, Owen, Marshfield, Portage, Waterloo and down into Illinois.

At great risk would be the water in Castle Rock Lake, Rock River, Lake Koshkonong, Flambeau River, Lake Superior and the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 42 million people.  Northern Wisconsin has a huge tourism industry and cannot afford such high risk to its water.

Tar Sands Oil is very dense and does not float, making it extremely hard to clean up.

Tar Sands Oil is 17 per cent more carbon intensive than the average barrel of oil.

To extract the oil, chemicals are added, making the oil more acidic. This oil is three times more likely to spill.

Enbridge’s track record is not good. In the last 15 years, there were 800 spills on various pipelines. The technology currently used is not up to the task of finding the oil leak. The leak detections system missed 19 out of 20 spills and 4 of the 5 larger spills.

The extraction of Canadian Tar Sands Oil requires the destruction of the Canadian boreal forest, one of the largest in the world. That forest captures twice as much carbon as tropical forests. Birds and wildlife are losing their habitat.

Enbridge is the Canadian company that operates this pipeline. Are they ready and equipped to handle the extra challenges of tar sands oil?

What can you do?

Learn more at the website of Sierra Club of Wisconsin: