Wisconsin included in oil pipeline proposal; State says prepared for spill

Meeting Monday to talk about plans for new pipeline
Wisconsin included in oil pipeline proposal; State says prepared for spill

A Wisconsin Emergency Management spokesperson says if a Canadian pipeline company’s oil line comes to fruition they are prepared for a spill.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Energy is proposing a $2.5 billion, 610-mile Sandpiper pipeline from Tioga, North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin.  From Superior, Enbridge community relations consultant Christine Davis says the oil would be transported through a pipeline network, touching parts of the entire state, including Columbia, Dane, Jefferson and Rock counties.

Emergency Management spokeswoman Lori Getter says her department is always practicing with live drills for emergencies, like an oil spill.  Not because of the proposal, but in case any chemical disaster strikes.

“Whether it’s Bakken oil or another petroleum or other chemicals. So they’re able to have the equipment or training to be able to respond to those types of spills,” Getter says.  “When we develop emergency plans we just don’t put them on a notebook and put them on a shelf.  In order for them to be continually effective we need to be able to continually train.”

In response to one of history’s most devastating oil spills, the Exxon Valdez’s 11 million gallons spilling into Alaska waters, The Prince William Sound Citizens Advisory Council was formed.  Today executive director Mark Swanson is still sharing what they learned with other communities oil could potentially touch.

“It’s the attention and complacency was really the tragedy there,” Getter says. “And there was less attention being paid because there were no accidents.”

While state Emergency Management officials would respond to a spill, the ultimate clean-up responsibility lies with the company.

Davis said Enbridge Energy’s comprehensive plan includes already having local contractors in place.

Enbridge officials will be in Superior Mon. for a Dept. of Natural Resources meeting looking at a Wisconsin pipeline’s potential impact.