I hope many of you read the series published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently about a proposed tar sands pipeline.
If you missed it, the first article appeared on Sunday, January 15, and continued each day that week through Thursday. It is well worth your time, if you did not read it.
I will try to give you a brief, nutshell version. If approved, this pipeline would run through sixteen Wisconsin counties, including Rock County, on its way south to the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline would originate in Alberta, Canada with Enbridge Inc.
Tar sand is sandstone that is naturally soaked in heavy oil. It is a goopy, gloppy material, so in order for it to flow in a pipeline, toxic chemicals, like benzene, a substance known to cause cancer, are added to the mix. If and when completed, 1.2 million barrels of tar sands would flow through Wisconsin daily. This is problematic for many reasons. First, all pipelines leak and spill at some point in time. They all do, but we will never know when. Tar sands oil spills are especially difficult to clean up because the chemicals seep into the ground and ground water.
The proposed path for this pipeline cuts under the Rock River, which would endanger Rock County residents in the event of a spill. Second, the state of Wisconsin will gain nothing from this pipeline. In fact, the U.S. gains nothing from it either. The only entity to profit is Enbridge. The pipeline will exist solely to aid Enbridge, a private, foreign company, in bringing its oil to market. Third, the state of Wisconsin had a law on the books opposing eminent domain in the case of private profit. However, the company pressured the legislature to change state law on eminent domain.
If the pipeline is built, the landowners will be forced to hand over pieces of their land solely for this foreign, private company’s profit. Wisconsin residents have nothing to gain, but they have everything to lose from land to potential public health risks with this pipeline. I say, we need to get involved now to stop it from ever being built in the first place.
Susan Amber Johnson