Submit a Comment: Enbridge Tar Sands Expansion at U.S./Canada Border

Walk in Bemidji, MN to State Department public meeting in a blizzard.


President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (the former Exxon CEO) are trying to push through a massive tar sands oil pipeline project that would cross protected treaty territory and the Mississippi Headwaters here in Minnesota, and according to the State Department's own analysis, produce as much global warming pollution per year as three million cars or four new coal fired power plants.

This project -- Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline -- had the one and only federal public meeting for its international border crossing (into the U.S. from Canada) on March 7 in Bemidji, and while Tillerson's State Department tried to keep Minnesotans out in the cold, hundreds of us showed up anyway.

Add your name to our public comment to the State Department. The border crossing segment is called Line 67 at the crossing point, so State Department materials use that name:

Docket DOS-2017-0009, Public comment on the Enbridge Line 67 SEIS

I am writing to comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Alberta Clipper (Enbridge Line 67). While the SEIS contains an impressive body of research, it has some critical flaws which must be addressed in the final EIS.

The SEIS notes that approving the Line 67 expansion under a scenario where Line 3 would also be expanded would result in an increase of global warming emissions equal to about three million passenger vehicles or four new coal fired power plants per year. However, the SEIS treats these two expansions as somewhat isolated projects, when in fact a critical part of the viability of the Line 3 expansion is resting on the approval of the Line 67 expansion. The final EIS must view the Line 3 expansion as a related project and consider its broad environmental and climate implications in full (including impacts on culturally sensitive areas and treaty territories), since the Line 67 border crossing remaining at current capacity (no-action alternative) would effectively halt plans for the Line 3 expansion project.

All oil by rail scenarios presented by Enbridge assume a final destination of Superior, WI. This must be changed to allow a fair consideration of alternatives -- Superior would not be the final destination for oil by rail as it does not have the refining capacity to handle the supply. A discussion of rail-based alternatives must look more broadly at refining capacity around the country that could potentially take the type of heavy crude that Enbridge proposes to transport, and adjust the route modeling accordingly.

The final EIS must also include current price modeling on the economic viability of transporting oil by rail vs. pipeline. As recent market data shows, the increased cost of oil by rail under current oil price scenarios generally makes extraction too costly to be viable, resulting in the usage of lower-carbon alternatives. The most prudent assumption under current market conditions is that oil by rail would not fully replace pipeline capacity, resulting in fewer barrels extracted, transported, and burned.

Finally, I join with other commenters in asking for an extension of the public comment period and better public engagement moving forward. A 45 day comment period and only one public meeting is insufficient for adequate public engagement on a project with such a wide range of impact. The one public meeting held in Bemidji made a mockery of public process, keeping hundreds of attendees outside in the cold and giving virtually no chances for commenters to make their voices heard or effectively obtain information. I ask that you expand the public comment period to 90 days and hold hearings in communities that would suffer the impacts in the case of an oil spill in order to better understand the risk this expansion project poses.

Thank you.

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Showing 1076 reactions

  • signed 2017-05-27 13:33:17 -0500
  • signed 2017-04-03 00:48:33 -0500
    Lydia Hayes
  • signed 2017-03-30 14:21:31 -0500
    Any plan to ship oil by rail must consider the tendency of tank cars to explode with force as great as nuclear weapons. Also, much track is in very bad condition. I have seen spikes half out of the ties.
  • signed 2017-03-29 23:14:41 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-29 14:00:29 -0500
    Stop putting money before the survival of our species – we can’t live without clean air and water.
  • signed 2017-03-28 21:02:32 -0500
    Mary Johannsen
  • signed 2017-03-28 15:24:32 -0500
    Every step we take to reduce production and use of fossil fuels helps make the future environment better for our children.
  • signed 2017-03-28 15:19:03 -0500
    No more pipe lines to transport dirty fossil fuel. Invest instead on renewable energy sources. This oil fetish is obscene.
  • signed via 2017-03-28 12:31:17 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-28 11:47:18 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-28 08:44:56 -0500
    The Mississippi River is our home here in Minnesota, and it’s worth more than oil.
  • signed 2017-03-28 08:16:53 -0500
    Do what is right for a change.
  • signed 2017-03-27 22:56:20 -0500
    It is important to recognize that this is a Supplemental SEIS for potential impacts of something that was effectively approved 2 years ago.

    The Alberta Clipper was expanded in 2015 and the additional oil was allowed across the border through an illegal scheme that violated federal law by using a piece of the proposed new and not yet permitted Line 3 pipeline — the “double-cross” or “switcheroo” scheme.

    This illegal and unethical manipulation of the intent of federal law is not appreciated here in Minnesota. We remember, and we continue to advocate and act for the protection of our precious water, land, forests, peoples — our irreplaceable natural environment, and the planet upon which we all depend. It is “consequential” that the proposed pipelines and the tar sands which they carry pose a very real threat to livability on our dear Mother Earth. It is unthinkable that these very headwaters be threatened, their watersheds stretching across major areas of our continent. And the Great Lakes, besides. And, without due free, prior and informed consent of the Native Americans, the Indigenous Peoples, whose treaty lands in two countries are threatened. What shall we say to their next six generations, in addition to the next generations of all peoples on this continent.

    The SEIS recognizes environmental justice issues related to disproportional impact activities to Leech Lake and Fond du Lac, but rates these impacts as “negligible” and “minor.” An additional flaw in the SEIS is inadequate analysis of impact on critical tribal resources, rating the potential impact of a spill on tribal resources as “negligible” and “moderate.”

    Federal law requires a new border crossing permit for Line 3. Line 3 is not a replacement: It has double the capacity, bigger pipe, different type of oil, and new corridor. This is all explicitly prohibited in the 1991 Presidential Permit.

    The Federal government is avoiding taking responsibility: The Chippewa National Forest needs to do a supplemental review for the added capacity on the Alberta Clipper; the US Army Corps of Engineers needs to do a Federal EIS on Line 3.

    In closing, the SEIS is inadequate for this day and age. The Earth and our country and all peoples deserve better. Please do help bring justice to us. Thank you.
  • signed 2017-03-27 22:01:06 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 21:57:38 -0500
    Ralph J Yehle
  • signed 2017-03-27 21:49:13 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 20:32:09 -0500
    Madeline Gardner
  • signed 2017-03-27 20:09:33 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 19:42:07 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 19:32:42 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 19:25:39 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 18:47:26 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 18:16:53 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 18:16:05 -0500
    Jeanine Malec
  • signed 2017-03-27 18:11:04 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 17:51:11 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 17:50:18 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 17:38:27 -0500
  • signed 2017-03-27 17:28:04 -0500
    Shannon Selz
  • signed 2017-03-27 17:20:51 -0500