Protest march against pipeline expansion slated

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Activists are planning a march in Whitewater March 4 to protest Enbridge's pipeline expansion that would cut a path into the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, according to a joint press release from the Wisconsin Youth Network and 350 Madison Climate Action Team.

Participants are asked to meet at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 4, near the fountain on the campus mall in front of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater University Center, 800 W. Main St., Whitewater. The march will proceed to the Cravath Lakefront, where a rally and press conference will be held at 3:30 p.m., wrapping up at 5 p. m., according to the release.

“Wisconsin is already bisected by five existing pipelines, and now Enbridge, a $57 billion Canadian company, has announced plans via shareholder letters to construct Line 66, a pipeline which would run parallel to the existing Line 61. Together, these two pipelines would carry 2 million barrels of oil per day from Superior, Wisconsin, diagonally through the heart of the state and across many vital waterways,” the release reads. “The oil transported by Line 61 and that would be transported by Line 66 is tar sands oil, perhaps the most environmentally destructive source of energy on the planet, requiring clearcutting of pristine Alberta Boreal forest, and releasing a slew of different environmental toxins. “

Organizers say over 800 spills occurred under Enbridge's watch from 1999 to 2010, an average of one spill roughly every five days. Just weeks ago, an Enbridge pipeline in Texas spilled 600,000 barrels of oil. Concern by a pattern of carelessness, the activists also are calling upon Enbridge to decommission Line 5, a pipeline that passes under the environmentally vulnerable Mackinac Strait that connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

Organizers say they hope their protest will lead to a public commitment by Enbridge not to construct any new tar sands oil infrastructure in Wisconsin, the decommissioning of Line 5 as soon as possible, and improved pipeline management, oversight, and technology from Enbridge in order to safely operate and eventually decommission existing pipelines as the nation and the world transition to clean fuel sources.

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