Potential oil pipeline expansion

Published: Apr. 13, 2016 at 6:44 PM CDT
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Wisconsin residents have been working to stop a potential expansion of oil pipelines through the state.

Currently Enbridge Energy Co. has 4 pipeline that run through the heart of Wisconsin from Superior to Illinois, and residents are becoming more concerned about potential oil spills.

"Even a tiny spill has a huge human impact. We had a spill in our neighborhood...about 40 gallons...and the most affected neighbor had to move out of their house," said landowner and founding member of 80 Feet is Enough Mark Borchardt.

The Department of Natural Resources concluded that an oil spill of 500 gallons or more, could have a harmful impact on water supply, endangered species and the overall environment.

In 2010 834,000 gallons of oil leaked into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, and the company spent $1.2 billion dollars cleaning it up.

"Safety is our priority, and we take that very seriously. We have a very good inspection and maintenance program for not just Wisconsin, but all of our pipelines throughout the system, " said Jennifer Smith a manager at Enbridge.

Despite the companies best efforts, some residents were not convinced.

"About 30% of the content in the oil pipeline is a chemical cocktail that even Enbridge wont tell us what is in it. And when those chemicals start to travel, they will be in our water systems literally forever," said Bolder Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb.

Right now there are no set plans for expansion, but if they were to expand, Mark Borchardt said over 300 million gallons of oil would flow through Wisconsin each day.