(Image Courtesy of Enbridge)

Calgary-based  pipeline operator Enbridge faces fresh battles as it seeks to expand the “Alberta Clipper” over Minnesota to boost its capacity another 40 percent to 800,000 barrels per day.

The plan is to expand the line from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wis., for the US to import more oil from Canada’s tar sands region.

Citing Enbridge’s safety record, environmentalists are trying to block the expansion related to increasing greenhouse gas linked to climate change.

“Enbridge is responsible for the largest on-land spill,” said Tom McSteen, lead convener  for the anti-tar sands group MN350.

Referring to the July 2010 rupture of an Enbridge pipeline in Michigan that released 20,000 barrels of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River, resulting in a $1 billion cleanup effort by the company.

“We don’t want a Kalamazoo in Minnesota,” McSteen added.

The proposal is now pending regulatory review, not to approve the expansion, but to approve an more in depth and complete review of the proposal.

At the state’s request, Enbridge submitted data on all 56 reported crude oil spills in the past five years on its Midwest pipeline system. Minnesota had the highest number of incidents but the least volume of spilled oil among the six states the pipeline crosses.


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