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Wisconsin oil spill is Canadian firm’s worst since 2010 disaster

from: http://www.latimes.com/

 
By Matt Pearce
July 29, 2012, 2:10 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Enbridge, a beleaguered Canadian oil pipeline company, has spilled more than 50,000 gallons of light crude oil in rural Wisconsin —  shortly after the company said it had implemented safety reforms after a massive 2010 spill in Michigan.

Officials for Alberta-based Enbridge Inc., one of the United States’ most vital suppliers of Canadian oil, said Friday’s spill has been contained by cleanup workers,  who are now trying to repair and restart the 24-inch pipeline known as Line 14, which carries more than 300,000 barrels a day.

The incident is another black mark for an ambitious energy company ridiculed earlier this month by U.S. safety officials, who likened Enbridge workers  to the Keystone Kops. The comparison came after an investigation of a broken pipeline that released more than 800,000 gallons of heavy crude near Marshall, Mich. — one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history and certainly the most expensive.

The new spill, in sparsely populated Adams County, Wis., forced the evacuation of two homes. It is the company’s worst spill since the 2010 disaster, and it drew the ire of U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

“Enbridge is fast becoming to the Midwest what BP was to the Gulf of Mexico, posing troubling risks to the environment,” Markey said in a statement. “The company must be forthcoming about this entire incident, and deserves a top-to-bottom review of their safety culture, procedures and standards.”

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Sand mining for fracking industry devastating Wisconsin farms and woodlands

from http://www.ecowatch.org/

By Pilar Gerasimo
The recent boom in hydrofracking for natural gas and oil has resulted in a little-reported side boom—a sand-rush in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, where we just happen to have the nation’s
richest, most accessible supply of the high-quality silica sand required for fracking operations.
Image by Jim Tittle

Unfortunately, most of that silica sand lies beneath our beautiful wooded hills and fertile farmland, and within agricultural and residential communities, all of which are now being ripped apart by sand mines interests eager to get at the riches below. This open pit mining is, in many respects, similar to the mountaintop removal going on in Appalachian coal country—except that here, it’s hilltop and farm field removal. The net effect on our landscape, natural resources and communities is quickly becoming devastating. In the past few months, the sand rush has come to my own rural neighborhood in Dunn County, Wisconsin, which is about an hour east of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Like many residents in Dunn County, I’m concerned about the speed and intensity with which frac-sand mining interests are moving into our area. The proposals and applications for mines and related infrastructure are coming in so fast (our region has seen dozens just in the past few months), most small towns have been totally overwhelmed. Organizations trying to map and report all the activity literally cannot keep up with the incoming data.

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