The Alberta Clipper pipeline project by Enbridge, would move tar sands oil, or dilbit from Alberta to Superior Wisconsin. From there across the Great lakes...

Once loaded into barges and tankers, such crude oil could be delivered to several refinery locations through the Great Lakes basin in both U.S. and Canada.


A little bit bigger than Keystone XL, the Alberta Clipper pipeline would enable tar sands oil to be shipped all over the Great Lakes region.

The Department invites interested agencies, organizations, and
members of the public to submit comments or suggestions to assist in
identifying significant environmental issues, measures that might be
adopted to reduce environmental impacts, and in determining the
appropriate scope of the SEIS....

....Interested individuals and groups are encouraged to present comments on the environmental issues they believe should be addressed in the SEIS consistent with NEPA and its implementing regulations.


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peregrine kate's dairy gives us some guidance:

Talking Points for comment:

1. The “Alberta Clipper” (Enbridge Line 67) has been in place for a couple of years, but this expansion is intended to facilitate the transport of tar sands oil in the form of “dilbit” (diluted bitumen), in massively greater quantities than previously done. The change will require additional pumping stations both to carry higher volume and a thicker substance. It is not at all clear in advance that the pipeline is sufficiently secure and leak-free to handle this extra stress.

TAKEAWAY: Legitimate concerns about the technological capacity of these pipelines, in which failure may be rare but catastrophic when it does occur, appear to be minimized. See this report by InsideClimate News about the relatively weak legislation and regulation that have been imposed in the wake of the major Kalamazoo River spill in 2010, none of which would even apply to this stretch of pipeline. Their conclusions are that the latest regulations do not address these potential problems:

    1.    Pipeline contents still a mystery
    2.    Little is known about dilbit
    3.    Deadlines for repairing corrosion and other defects still loose
    4.    Access to spill response plans limited
    5.    Spill reporting still lax

Also see point 3 below.

2. The end point of this pipeline is at Superior WI, on the western shore of Lake Superior. Where is the dilbit going after that, and how, to reach oil refineries?
--proposed Calumet dock expansion, to ship the dilbit in tankers (a topic discussed at greater length by both Muskegon Critic and LakeSuperior; please see links above).

--pipelines through the Upper and Lower Peninsulas (see map at the top of this diary)

TAKEAWAY: Insufficient thought has been given to erecting adequate safeguards for the precious and irreplaceable water resource represented by the Great Lakes. Even inland spills are likely to happen near enough to waterways feeding into one of the lakes, to say nothing of the local damage.

3. Enbridge is the pipeline company responsible for “the largest inland oil spill in history,” the 1 Million Barrel plus disaster affecting the Kalamazoo River. Clean-up costs for that event have reached $1 Billion, and the task is not yet done. (See InsideClimate News' Pulitzer-Prize-winning reportage on the spill and cleanup efforts; links to individual articles on the topic available there.)

TAKEAWAY: Even if the technology itself were reliable and failsafe, Enbridge is NOT a trustworthy pipeline operator. They did not respond in a timely way to the first reports of a ruptured line; they did not respond forthrightly to requests for information about pipeline content; their original (and default) response was to minimize the potential for temporary and permanent harm to the affected communities and ecosystems.

12:49 PM PT: Here's a map to give you some idea where this pipeline would start and end.


Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 12:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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