On Thursday, July 3, on the eve of an extended Fourth of July holiday weekend, Canadian pipeline big Enbridge landed a sweetheart deal: a provision in the 2015 Wisconsin budget that may serve to expedite permitting for its controversial proposed Line 61 tar sands pipeline enlargement project.
Line sixty one cuts diagonally throughout Wisconsin and goes into north-central Illinois, beginning in Superior, Wisconsin and terminating in Flanagan, Illinois. The Wisconsin Gazette refers to the pipeline as the “XXL” pipeline as a result of it’s larger in dimension and has larger carrying capacity than the better-identified tar sands pipeline cousin, TransCanada”s Keystone XL, and is “buried beneath each major waterway” in the state.
Additional, Line 61 is a key piece of what DeSmog has coined Enbridge’s “Keystone XL Clone” pipeline system, connecting on the north to the proposed Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion undertaking, and to the south to the already practical Flanagan South pipeline. Flanagan South then connects to the Seaway Twin pipeline, which flows to the Gulf Coast refineries and the worldwide export market, just like the southern leg of Keystone XL.
Dane County Insurance
At the center of the story is Dane County, home to the capitol city of Madison and the College of Wisconsin, situated as the “final man standing” in the way of Enbridge opening Line 61 for enterprise.
The Dane County Board of Supervisors told Enbridge on April 14 that it cannot pump larger amounts of tar sands product by means of Dane County until it buys insurance coverage in case of a spill. Put one other approach, the native government body advised Enbridge that it refuses to foot the invoice for spills, notable given the corporate’s monitor document of responsibility for the most important tar sands pipeline spill in U.S. historical past.
Enbridge appealed the Board of Supervisors’ determination on coal May 4. It stays unclear whether that appeal will develop into a moot level if the Enbridge provision remains a part of Wisconsin’s price range, set to be debated quickly by both chambers of the state legislature.
Past Enbridge, different pipeline companies and utility business interests additionally landed a final-minute proposed finances provision that may give Wisconsin’s Public Service Fee the fitting to condemn personal property for infrastructure initiatives if deemed within the “public curiosity” upon evaluate, akin to eminent area.
Picture credit score: Wisconsin State Meeting
The company not too long ago filed a excessive-profile eminent domain lawsuit in North Dakota against the last set of landowners who refused to signal off on an Enbridge right-of-way contract for its Sandpiper pipeline, set to bring oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin to Superior, Wisconsin.
According to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Enbridge began lobbying for “improvement, drafting or introduction of a proposal referring to pipelines” starting on Feb. 12, 2015, simply two weeks after the Board of Supervisors’ Zoning and Land Regulation Committee stalled making a decision on Line sixty one. Enbridge additionally started lobbying for the eminent area provision on June 10.
One of the lobbyists, Dan Gunderson, has additionally worked on projects for ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute (API) and other oil and gasoline trade purchasers up to now, in keeping with his consulting company’s webpage.
“The API has utilized Huge Wild each for lobbying the legislature and challenge messaging around the State of Wisconsin,” reads a testimonial from API on the website for Gunderson’s consulting company. “We have now been extremely pleased with their accomplishments on behalf of our industry.”
The opposite three Enbridge lobbyists have all handed by way of the government-trade revolving door.
Kevin Jenkins, an in-home Enbridge lobbyist, formerly served because the chief of staff for Wisconsin Senator Frank Lasse and on the Wisconsin County Leadership Committee for the 2004 Bush-Cheney presidential marketing campaign. The other two — Tony Langenohl and William “Bill” McCoshen — both previously served as senior-degree staffers for former Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, who is now also a company lobbyist.
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