Wood County Board Looks into Pipeline Expansion

Rick Potter lives near the Wisconsin River. Nearby him is also an Enbridge Energies pipeline.

"The pipeline goes right by my house, and I'm very concerned," he said.

400,000 barrels of oil are transported through the line daily. If the proposal goes through, Enbridge would increase the pressure of how much petroleum passes through the line. The expansion would yield 1.2 million barrels of oil.

"We've already had two oil spills in surrounding counties. One in Adam and one in Clark at a lower pressure," Potter said.

"I'm nervous about this," Wood County Board Member Brad Hamilton said. "Is the capacity there? Nobody can seem to say that."

The Wood County Board held a meeting at the Wood County Court Tuesday morning. Members passed a resolution requesting the Department of Natural Resources to send a statement the move would have on the environment, and proof of financial responsibility from Enbridge before they would get a permit for expanding the pipeline.

"We want them to do an environmental impact statement for these people, and for the whole area, just to make sure this thing can handle the capacity it's going to handle. That's all I care about," Hamilton said.

While safety is an issue on many people's minds, Enbridge claims it's one of their priorities.

"We've invested $12.2 billion alone in upgrades and safety enhancements," Enbridge Energy Community Relations Advisor Jackie Guthrie said. "We have a 24 hour monitoring system in Canada, state of the art that's monitoring our lines, both computerized and by real people. Our lines have lots of safety mechanism built into them."

While it is still unclear as to whether Enbridge will get to expand the pipeline, it appears that neighbors in Wood County can be assured that measures are being taken to ensure things are being done safely, and for their well being.

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