Enbridge Supported by Wisconsin Supreme Court in Dane County Case

A ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court has allowed Enbridge Energy to continue on with their pipeline project in Dane County without any additional insurance, despite the local government putting a requirement on Enbridge’s permit for a $25 million environmental liability policy.

Wisconsin lawmakers stepped in and passed a provision blocking local municipalities from putting liability requirements on an operator if they already had sufficient insurance. After a couple back and forths of courts contesting Enbridge’s quality of insurance, the high court ruled that Enbridge does have comprehensive insurance. According to Enbridge, they have $860 million worth of general liability insurance, including coverage for ’sudden and accidental’ pollution.

Despite the ruling, several people within local government have been adamant that Enbridge has yet to provide proof of adequate insurance for ’sudden and accidental’ cases. Concerned about the decision, Patricia Hammel, a landowner’s attorney, stated that it “allows Enbridge to operate the largest tar sands pipeline in the U.S. across Wisconsin without adequate insurance and exposes our people, land and water to the consequences of a catastrophic spill.”

Enbridge’s oil spill in 2010, in southwest Michigan, polluted almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River and cost them $1.2. billion. In addition, the United States fined them for missing deadlines on pipeline inspections prior to the spill, costing them an extra $1.8 million. The cleanup lasted until 2014.

Meanwhile, Enbridge has finished their $1.5 billion pipeline make-over and built the Waterloo pump station, which, according to a spokeswoman of Enbridge, Jennifer Smith, is necessary in order to “ensure a reliable source of energy for decades to come.”


Underinvested Pipelines Cause Rise in Rail Industry for Oil Transportation from U.S. to Mexico

A weak and underinvested pipeline system in Mexico is causing a surge of energy imports into the country from the U.S. by rail.

Today, Mexico is the top U.S. export market, and no slowdown is foreseen. Oil companies are turning to rail shipments to move oil across the border as that seems to be the most effective form of transportation for Mexico.

Mexico only has two major ports that handle half of all its fuel shipments, making the transportation of oil by cargo ship slow. Trucking is slow and expensive due to poor road conditions, and pipelines are suffering from underinvestment.

Pipeline projects are proceeding to help move oil across the border, but rail is still at an advantage since it is already built. And although it costs more to use rail than pipelines, Mexico theft by gangs siphoning fuel from pipelines changes that statistic for the country.