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Environmentalists ask DNR to deny permit for Superior oil tanks
A packed hearing room in the Superior Public Library Monday took on oil fracking, tar sands, climate change and the company that is shipping that oil in its pipelines. Mike Simonson reports.
Enbridge Pipeline wants to build three five story high oil tanks in Superior to handle their proposed pipeline carrying capacity from the Canadian Alberta tar sands and North Dakota Bakken oil fields. The tanks would increase storage capacity by 1.5 million barrels.
A dozen people of the 50 people attending the DNR hearing testified against it while four were in favor. Christopher LaForge of Port Wing made the global warming argument.
“The tar sands of Alberta are lethal carbon bombs and the planned expansion of this facility is basically the fuse on these bombs. The more and more that we ship of this toxic oil substance, the more we’ll burn and the more we can expect the climate chaos that we’re actually experiencing.”
Northland College student Kaylee Thornley of Spooner went after Enbridge for its pipeline spills citing Michigan’s 2010 Kalamazoo River rupture that spilled one million gallons of tar sands oil.
“Enbridge has proven itself a criminal corporate citizen. It took them more than 17 hours to report that the Kalamazoo spill was even occurring. By the time the dust had settled, Enbridge was charged by regulators with 24 federal violations.”
But with 125 construction jobs on the line, two union leaders defended Enbridge. Building Trades President Norm Voorhees says the company has high environmental and safety standards.
“To build it here as safely and responsibly as we can. We rely on our public agencies and technology to review everything and make sure it’s done in a responsible manner.”
Douglas County Administrator Andy Lisak wants the DNR to permit the tanks, saying it will build on Superior as an oil hub.
“We are the gateway to North American energy independence and we’re proud to be home to Enbridge’s Superior Terminal. In Douglas County, we’ve been able to strike a balance between economic development and nature. We’ve proven that industry and nature can co-exist.”
Public comment ends May 19. Enbridge hopes to build the tanks this summer.
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