This post originally appeared on AddictingInfo.org
TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline is dead. The defeat of the pipeline has been declared a major victory in the fight to end the extraction and burning of fossil fuels that are major contributors to climate change. The fact that so many pipelines have been built, expanded upon, and have been proposed to be built without getting the same amount of attention as the KXL pipeline has been a point of contention for many activists in the fight to protect the Earth’s climate.
Now that the KXL is dead, it’s time for the nation and the world’s focus to turn towards some of the other pipelines that need to be dismantled or prevented from being built in the first place. But it’s not so simple. For one thing, it is hard to determine just what pipelines should be considered a larger concern than others. For the communities that have to deal with the negative effects of a having pipeline in their backyard, any pipeline is a day-to-day nightmare. The pipelines that will be highlighted in this article are ones are a small part of an ever growing list of the points of infrastructure that allow the fossil fuel industry to profit from the destruction of the global ecosystem.
- The Alberta Clipper
The Alberta Clipper is owned by Enbridge. It runs all the way from Hardisty, Alberta to Minnesota. At its maximum, the Clipper can move 880,000 barrels of oil a day. Fortunately, at the moment permits prevent Enbridge from fully utilizing the pipeline’s capacity. But the company isn’t planning on letting the law get in the way of their profits. It plans to increase the pipeline’s output without getting a new permit. Right now, they are getting around the law by technicality. They take the oil from the Clipper when it gets to the border and then transport it across the border to another pipeline that they own called Line 3. Environmental groups are waging a massive legal battle in order to stop the company from getting away with this.
- The Sandpiper Pipeline
The Sandpiper is a pipeline that Enbridge desperately wants to have built. The pipeline would move 225,000 barrels of crude oil a day, across North Dakota and Minnesota, and would end in Wisconsin. North Dakota has already approved the pipeline, but the 300 hundred miles of pipeline that would run through Minnesota have yet to be approved. If built, the pipeline would put the wetlands, mountains, lakes, and rivers it would cross through at great risk. Environmentalists are working hard to make sure this pipline never gets constructed.
- Line 5
Line 5 is owned by Enbridge. It runs more than one hundred feet under water through the Straights of Mackinac in the Great Lakes. It carries at its maximum 540,000 barrels of oil from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario in Canada. The pipeline was built in 1959, and is positioned in place where a spill would contaminate the entire Great Lakes ecosystem. Due to its age and position, the state of Michigan has recognized that something must be done before the pipeline spills. Environmentalists are fighting to ensure that Line 5 is completely dismantled and removed from the Mackinac Straights. Enbridge is working overtime to convince everyone that the pipeline can be renovated. However, even if Line 5’s structural integrity was restored, it still poses the same threat it does today to future generations. The risk to the world’s largest source of fresh water is too a great a danger to allow Line 5 to continue to exist.
- Line 61
Line 61 is owned by Enbridge. It transports crude oil from Superior, Wisconsin to refineries in Metro Chicago, or through a network of pipelines that eventually end at the Gulf Coast. Right now Line 61 transports about 400,000 barrels of oil a day. Enbridge wants to expand that capacity to 1.2 million barrels a day. That’s a whopping 400,000 more barrels a day than the KXL would have. Since Line 61 doesn’t cross any international borders, it does not have to have the same type of approval from the federal government as the KXL would have. Work on the expansion is already being done, and doesn’t face much opposition from regulators. However, activists are working to make sure that Line 61’s expansion is not only stopped but the pipeline is shut down all together.
- Line 6b
Line 6b is owned by Enbridge. The worst inland oil spill in history occurred near Marshall, Michigan, in 2010. Line 6b spilled 800,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River, creating one of the world’s worst environmental disasters. What many people don’t know is that Line 6b was repaired and expanded. When Line 6b burst, it was carrying about 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Since 2014, that number has nearly doubled to 500,000 barrels a day. During the rebuilding and expansion of the pipeline, community activists waged an all-out campaign of direct action to stop Line 6b, that resulted in many arrests and imprisonment. The expansion of Line 6b is a major slap in the face to all those who were harmed by Enbridge’s irresponsibility and mission to put profits over all else.
All of the pipelines mentioned in this article are owned by the Canadian company Enbridge. The $40-billion-dollar company’s pipelines have been responsible for hundreds of oil spills over the last decade. They have woven their pipeline network throughout the nation, without any concern for the planet or the people who inhabit it. Their pipelines pose just as much threat, if not more than the KXL. If we are to combat climate change, remove targets for terrorists, and to protect our communities from water and land contamination we must work to stop their network of pipelines from expanding, and remove the ones that already exist.
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