This diary adresses the proposal to establish a large marine terminal shipping dock for liquid hydrocarbons (including tar sands derivatives) at Superior, WI.
This proposal would enable significantly increased shipping of crude oil and other liquid hydrocarbons throughout the entire Great Lakes and St. Lawrence System. The increased shipping would result from increased pipeline transportation of heavy sour crude tar sands derivatives from Hardesty, Alberta through the Enbridge Alberta Clipper pipeline to Superior, WI, and from increased shipments of North Dakota Bakken crude arriving at Superior, WI through pipelines or by railroad transport.
Today brings news on this matter from the Alliance for Great Lakes in Chicago [I should disclose that they are a past client of mine]:
Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Alliance for the Great Lakes
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
Contact: Andrew Slade, 218-727-0800
Lyman Welch: 312-445-9739
Wisconsin dismisses controversial oil terminal permit application, for now
Proposal would open the door to tar sands shipping on the Great Lakes
SUPERIOR, Wis. -- A plan to begin shipping tar sands oil across Lake Superior – and potentially open the door to shipping large volumes of this relatively new form of thick crude across the Great Lakes -- has been dealt a setback for now.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in December dismissed an application for a loading dock rehabilitation viewed as the first step toward a $25 million crude oil complex meant to facilitate shipments of tar sands crude across Lake Superior starting as soon as next year. As the first permit to pave the way for tar sands shipping on the Great Lakes, the proposal had broad implications for the region.
Before the project can proceed, the DNR has instead ordered a comprehensive Environmental Assessment of the entire dock project, something many called for during a public informational hearing in November attended by about 50 residents from both Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“Area residents really care about Lake Superior and they want to make sure this unique resource is not threatened by costly and harmful spills of this dangerous type of crude oil,” said Andrew Slade, Northeast Program Coordinator for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. “This demonstrates how, when citizens speak up on such important water issues, government agencies can actually respond.”
The applicant, Elkhorn Industries, may re-apply for the permit under conditions set by the DNR in its Dec. 23, 2013 letter to the company. The letter says public comments from the meeting played a role in its decision, and states that the agency “will need significantly more information about the plans and activities proposed for the site.”
“We want to thank Wisconsin DNR for agreeing that more information is needed, and to the members of the public who helped make this change,” said Lyman Welch, Water Quality Program director for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “This gives the community – and the region – much-needed time for a larger binational discussion about whether the Great Lakes should become the next frontier for shipping tar sands crude oil.”
Welch is the lead author of a report released in November (www.greatlakes.org/tarsands) that explores the potential risks of tar sands oil shipping across the Great Lakes. The report found that neither the Great Lakes shipping fleet nor its ports were designed to ship this form of crude over the lakes, and highlighted the proven challenges of cleanup after a spill.
The DNR cited two other issues as having a role in its dismissal of the application, including that Elkhorn Industries does not own the entire waterfront property necessary to complete the proposed project and could not legally apply for work on the property it does not own.
-- Andrew Slade, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, 218-727-0800 firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Lyman Welch, Alliance for the Great Lakes, 312-445-9739 , email@example.com
Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a statewide network founded in 1998 to strengthen the effectiveness and build the power of our members to achieve the highest quality natural environment for Minnesotans. A partnership of more than 70 organizations, MEP helps groups work together for clean water, clean energy and conservation investments through policy initiatives, public education and community events.
Formed in 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes is the oldest Great Lakes organization in North America. Our mission is to: conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife. More about the Alliance for the Great Lakes is online at www.greatlakes.org.
Lyman C. Welch | Water Quality Program Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alliance for the Great Lakes | www.greatlakes.org
17 N. State Street, Suite 1390 | Chicago, IL 60602 | 312.445.9739