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Dane County deserves insurance policy from Enbridge -- Susan O'Leary

Dane County deserves insurance policy from Enbridge -- Susan O'Leary

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The State Journal’s recent article explaining that the Dane County Board’s Zoning Committee may require Enbridge to provide a trust fund for oil spill insurance is welcome news.

The potential for an oil spill seems abstract -- until one happens. A double-walled pipeline that was installed just last year in northern Alberta, Canada, this summer, leaked five million liters of bitumen, salt and produced water into natural areas. We tend to read large numbers quickly, without necessarily thinking of them.

Pause there a bit. Five million liters, and the corporation, Nexen Energy, has stated it does not know how or when the leak began.

We should remember this leak and the terrible 2010 Enbridge spill in Marshall, Michigan, as Enbridge prepares for major expansion in Wisconsin. Our Dane County lakes, farms and woods deserve clear and specific assurances from Enbridge that it backs the fidelity of its pipelines.

An Enbridge insurance policy could have been that fidelity if our state Legislature had not nullified the county’s ability to require one. The trust fund can now be Enbridge’s demonstration that it will take responsibility for possible damage to our county if a pipeline breaks.

-- Susan O'Leary, Madison

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