A host of environmental groups—including Save the Dunes and the Hoosier
Environmental Council (HEC)—has released a joint statement urging the
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to impose stringent
conditions on Enbridge Energy’s new pipeline project, which will traverse
the northern half of Porter County.
That statement was released on Monday by Save the Dunes, HEC, the National
Wildlife Federation, the Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Porter County
Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the Dunelands Group of the Hoosier
Chapter of the Sierra Club, Freshwater Future, the Great Lakes Environmental
Law Chapter, and the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
Enbridge is proposing to replace approximately 210 miles of its existing
Line 6B crude oil pipeline in Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The
project will begin in Lake County, enter Porter County in Liberty Township,
and cross into Jackson and Pine Townships before continuing into LaPorte
County. Crews would remove the oil from the existing pipeline, fill the pipe
with nitrogen, and leave the pipe in the ground.
Enbridge says that the purpose of the project is twofold: to reduce
maintenance activities and to restore the pipeline’s capacity to meet
increasing demand along its route.
The joint statement:
“The signatories to this statement jointly express our deep concern about
the potential impact of Enbridge Energy’s proposed Line 6B pipeline on water
quality, vital habitat, and public health in Northwest Indiana. On Dec. 18,
2012, (IDEM) will hear comments on the Clean Water Act Section 401
water-quality certification necessary for Enbridge to begin construction. We
urge IDEM to ensure that Enbridge implements every possible precaution to
protect the people and natural resources of Northwest Indiana and Lake
“The new pipeline, if constructed, will transport 500,000 barrels per day of
diluted bitumen, or ‘tar sands oil,’ with an annual carrying capacity of
800,000 barrels per day. The physical and chemical properties of this
product pose a unique, long-term threat to the environment and water
resources of the Lake Michigan watershed and to the health and safety of
residents of Northwest Indiana.
“Enbridge has a dismal track record on the construction and maintenance of
its pipelines. In 2010, missteps on the part of Enbridge Energy resulted in
a spill of 1.1 million gallons of tar sands oil into 34 miles of the
Kalamazoo River, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
“Enbridge ignored warning signs for years, and as a result, residents were
forced from their homes by toxic fumes and the river was closed to use. In
addition, Enbridge’s Southern Access pipeline construction in Wisconsin
resulted in over 500 environmental violations of water quality regulations
in 2008. In the past year, the spill of over 50,000 gallons of oil at a farm
in Wisconsin in July and the November leak of almost 40,000 gallons in
Mokena, Ill., have underlined the ongoing practices of this company that put
us at risk.
“Now, Enbridge is proposing to double or potentially quadruple the capacity
of its tar sands pipeline here in Northwest Indiana through the construction
of a larger diameter 50-mile pipeline. The construction will negatively
impact the 145 wetlands and 82 waterways/water bodies found within the Line
6B construction area. If a Michigan-style spill happened at any one of the
30 major waterways crossed by the proposed pipeline, the spill would reach
Lake Michigan. The impact on our economy, public health, and the environment
would be catastrophic.
“This is why we urge IDEM to require the following conditions for all issued
“•Enbridge must follow alternative routes to protect sensitive wetlands.
Enbridge proposes to cut directly through valuable water resources in Lake,
Porter, and LaPorte Counties despite their acknowledgment that practicable
alternatives exist that would avoid these areas. Protecting these wetlands
is critical to water quality in Northwest Indiana and the Lake Michigan
“•Hire Independent Environmental Monitors (IEM) through a regulatory agency
such as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or IDEM and
require Enbridge to pay the bill. These IEMs would monitor pipeline
construction on a daily basis to ensure compliance with environmental
regulations protecting all natural resources. This approach has been
implemented in Wisconsin with great success, and similar monitors have been
proposed for the Michigan portion of this project.
“•Include construction best practices as conditions of all permits to
protect water quality. Requirements should include flagging of wetland
boundaries, erosion control measures, invasive species management planning,
endangered resources management planning, and the use of construction mats
in all wetlands.
“•Include post-construction restoration and monitoring requirements in all
permits, including a 10-year post-construction restoration and monitoring
plan and mechanisms to ensure that Enbridge will pay for the full
restoration. Photographic proof of restoration should be provided to IDEM
one month and one year after project completion.
“In addition, we are concerned that the proposed pipeline project will not
receive adequate review at the federal level, putting endangered species and
other key resources at risk. We call on the Army Corps of Engineers to
complete rigorous agency review of the project through an individual permit
under the Clean Water Act Section 404, rather than allowing the project to
side-step critical checks through Nationwide Permit 12.”
“For over a century, residents of our region have fought to protect the
globally significant Indiana Dunes. There could be grave repercussions for
our region should a single mishap occur along the proposed pipeline. In
light of Enbridge Energy’s poor environmental record, we call on all
relevant agencies to ensure that Enbridge’s construction and safety
practices fully protect the environment of Northwest Indiana.”