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Thursday, May 21, 2009

DNR seeks comment on Alberta Clipper pipeline

From a news release issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources:

MADISON – The public is invited to comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared by the Department of Natural Resources for the Enbridge Alberta Clipper petroleum pipeline system project.

Enbridge Energy Company, Inc., 119 N. 25th Street East, Superior, WI 54880-5247, has applied to DNR for waterway and wetland crossing permits, and air quality permits for the proposed project. The company will also need a stormwater permit and an endangered resources review for the project.

The proposed pipeline project consists of constructing a new 36-inch diameter petroleum pipeline (known as the Alberta Clipper pipeline), a new 20-inch diameter diluent return pipeline (known as the Southern Lights pipeline), an associated pump station for the Southern Lights pipeline, and five 250,000 barrel breakout tanks. The proposed pipelines would be constructed along a 13 mile route in Douglas County from the Wisconsin-Minnesota border to the Enbridge Superior Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.

The pipelines would be largely constructed in parallel within an existing pipeline right-of-way that includes four other crude oil pipelines. The pump station and the breakout tanks would be constructed at the Enbridge Superior Terminal at Superior.

The purpose of the Alberta Clipper petroleum pipeline and breakout tanks is to bring crude oil from the tar sands area of Alberta, Canada to refineries in the Midwestern U.S. The Southern Lights diluent pipeline and pumping station are intended to return diluent from the Midwestern U.S. refineries to Alberta, Canada. Diluent is similar to gasoline, and is used to thin crude oil so that it can be pumped through pipelines.

The proposed pipelines would require 17 water body crossings, including 10 tributaries to the Pokegama River, three un-named waterways, two tributaries to the Little Pokegama River, one crossing of the Pokegama River, and one crossing of an un-named tributary to the Nemadji River.

The proposed pipelines would temporarily impact approximately 75 acres of wetland. The pump station and breakout tanks at the Superior Terminal would fill approximately 12 acres of wetland, and temporarily impact approximately 3 acres of wetland.

Air emissions directly associated with the proposed pipeline project at the Enbridge terminal in Superior are from the proposed construction and operation of five new external floating roof tanks having capacities of 8.7 million gallons each, and from associated fugitive emissions from pumping and piping on site. The estimated potential emissions from the tanks and associated fugitive sources are 39 tons per year of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The project will also increase the facility emissions of hazardous air pollutants from crude oil (e.g. benzene, n-hexane). Construction and operation permits from DNR’s air management program will be public noticed separately. . . .

Copies of the environmental assessment that led to the DNR's preliminary determination can be obtained from Benjamin Callan, Water Management Specialist, at DNR (OE/7), PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, or via E-mail at benjamin.callan@wisconsin.gov.

DNR has scheduled a public informational hearing where individuals can learn more about the proposed project and submit written or oral comments about the EA and any DNR wetland and waterway determinations associated with the project. The public informational hearing will be held on June 4, 2009 at the City of Superior Public Library, Large Meeting Room, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Public comments on the environmental assessment are welcome and must be submitted to Benjamin Callan no later than 4:30 p.m., June 8, 2009.

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