WHITEWATER (WKOW) -- A Canadian oil company is expanding a pipeline that runs through Wisconsin, but many who live near it are not on board with the project.
Enbridge wants to expand Line 61 from a capacity of 400,000 barrels a day to 1.2 million barrels a day. The DNR approved permits for Enbridge to begin work on expanding the pipeline's capacity after two public input meetings in small towns that were not well publicized.
The pipeline travels past a number of local communities, including Waterloo, Portage, Fort Atkinson and Whitewater. Some who live along the line say they were left out of the public input process. They're now pressing state natural resource officials to require more information from Enbridge. Hundreds of them showed up to a public forum on Thursday.
Ed and Jackie Billings live in a home that sits less than a mile from Line 61 in Waterloo. Ed Billings says it isn't the crude oil being transported down the line he's concerned about.
"There's also a 24-inch pipeline that transports lightweight fractions back north that they use as solvents to dilute the oil so they can pump it. I am more concerned about those lightweight fractions in a slow leak, getting into the ground and it can get into the groundwater," Ed says.
Environmentalists speaking at the public forum say that's one of the many things Enbridge isn't publicizing, leaving citizens in the dark.
"The time to find out that these pipelines could wreak havoc on a place like the Rock River is not after that happens," says Elizabeth Ward with the Sierra Club.
But Enbridge officials say the pipeline, while not perfect, is a much safer delivery method than transporting crude oil by rail.
Still, four counties and one city in Wisconsin have now passed resolutions asking the DNR to force Enbridge into submitting an environmental impact statement, something they have not been required to do as part of the expansion.
********WHITEWATER (WKOW) -- UW-Whitewater is hosting a public forum Thursday afternoon on a proposal by Enbridge, Inc. to triple capacity of its Line 61 crude oil pipeline that runs through Wisconsin from Lake Superior to central Illinois.