The Pipeline Resistance Movement

Connor Hobart-

There is a quiet conflict taking place in the Midwest involving oil and gas pipelines. This conflict involves our reliance on fossil fuels and preservation of our lakes and rivers. You may be surprised to learn that a sizeable portion of the world’s largest pipeline currently carries tar sands oil from northwestern Wisconsin down to southeastern Wisconsin. That pipeline is known as Line 61, and it is owned by the Canadian company Enbridge, who transports, generates and distributes energy.

Enbridge owns and operates multiple pipelines in the Midwest, and their pipelines are broken up into sections, or “lines.” Line 61 is the portion of the pipeline that passes through Wisconsin, from Superior to Delevan, then down into Illinois. Enbridge is a $39.3 billion company, and since 1999, they have been responsible for more than 800 oil spills. In addition to the expansion of Line 61, initial work is underway to ‘twin’ Line 61, creating a new Line 66 in the same corridor. With Line 66 in operation, Enbridge could carry an additional 800,000 bpd through the corridor (a total of 2 million barrels per day). However, if there is sufficient public opposition to the construction of Line 66, there is a very good chance that Enbridge will not build the pipeline.

 

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Students gather at UW-Madison to protest the construction of oil pipelines in front of the capitol building

Oil spills can cause severe damage to the environment, and often go unnoticed by the general public. For example, the crash of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker, while not involving a pipeline, was one of the largest oil spills in history. Spilling around 10 to 40 million gallons of crude oil, the event is considered one of the most disastrous ecological catastrophes in history. The damage affected both wildlife and coastal shores, and 26 thousand gallons of crude oil remains to this day despite intense clean-up efforts.

If you oppose the expansion of the oil pipeline system, there are many ways to ensure that your voice is heard. You can start by attending GreenSense’s upcoming event on November 17. At the event, you’ll have the opportunity to sign a petition opposing Enbridge’s Line 66, learn more about the oil pipeline situation in the Midwest and get involved with the pipeline-resistance movement. The exact time and location of the event are still being sorted out, but if you’re interested in attending or have any questions, please contact Connor Hobart at hobartc0922@my.uwstout.edu. As we get closer to the event, keep an eye out for GreenSense’s ads in Campus Life Today, as well as updates on their Orgsync and Facebook pages.