Some facts about the Proposed North Dakota Pipeline Company/Enbridge Pipelines proposed for Minnesota...
This route jeopardizes Minnesota's natural resources. Placing the proposed Sandpiper pipeline route on maps of Minnesota provided by state agencies (see maps on this page) you can see that:
- 47 million gallons of oil will cross under the Mississippi River the same day
Pipelines actually spill more oil than rail and truck combined, by nearly a 10 to 1 ratio (The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, June 2013). While both railroads and pipeline companies profess their adherence to safety standards, these standards in both cases are set way too low to provide adequate protection of our communities and our environment.
This proposed Enbridge pipeline isn't about moving oil out of the Bakken or about "US energy independence." Various oil shippers have expressed serious doubts that the proposed Sandpiper pipeline is necessary. According to US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) comments posted on March 13, 2014, the St. Paul Park Refining Company noted that Enbridge’s proposed fees on existing shippers would be used to pay for their proposed Sandpiper pipeline. The oil shippers studies show that there will be more than 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd) of takeaway capacity (pipelines, rail and ND refineries) in place by the end of 2015, prior to Sandpiper’s proposed start. Enbridge's own study adopts a production forecast indicating that Bakken production will peak at approximately 1.4 million bpd in the 2025-27 time frame, after which it will decline. Thus, there will continue to be sufficient takeaway capacity to handle all of the current and future Bakken production through the 2035 period, leaving no logistical need for the Sandpiper Project.
• Although Enbridge claims they are responsible for the cleanup of their spills, they could hold you liable if they could prove you were negligent under your agreement? This could be as simple as your driving heavy equipment over their pipeline.
• If the pipeline is laid on your land, you need to adequately protect yourself by considering legal counsel to assure that you are adequately compensated for the easement as well as agreeing to a fair compensation if a spill occurs on your land. Talk to neighbors, township, city and county officials. Do not be intimidated or rushed into signing anything.
How will this impact your community? Consider these facts.
Property owners should expect an immediate 10-40% reduction in property values after an oil spill (Conversations for a Responsible Economic Development, 2013). Given this area's, sandy soils and shallow aquifers, local groundwater would be highly susceptible to contamination. If local groundwater is contaminated, the economic costs to our community's residents, businesses and agriculture would be considerable. And probably permanent.
The MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says the Enbridge routes crosses more open water than the alternative routes submitted by Friends of the Headwaters. The MPCA commentary on North Dakota Pipeline Company/ Enbridge application for this route states.... "As explained above, MPCA examination of the proposed Sandpiper route and the previously used Northern route (Alberta Clipper) shows that significantly more open water bodies are crossed by the pipelines in these corridors than alternative routes. Far more of these crossings have no available access within a 2,000 foot buffer, meaning that release incidents are more likely to impact surface waters within that 2,000 buffer. Both the Sandpiper and Alberta Clipper routes are corridors for numerous crude oil pipelines; consequently, these routes are more vulnerable and less able to properly mitigate damage to aquatic environments. Whereas oil does travel through soils and overland, it travels significantly farther in aquatic environments.”
In his testimony regarding his Sandpiper Pipeline route concerns, Bob Merritt, a professional geologist and retired MN DNR area hydrologist with 32 years experience, explains the primary interconnected aquifers in the Straight River basin, which includes the surrounding Park Rapids area. Bob Merritt used maps and water flow paths to show the groundwater movement towards the Straight River, Park Rapids city wells, the potato plant, area irrigation wells and other wells. A spill or leakage has significant potential to incorporate petroleum products into the aquifer. Irrigation of the contaminated water will result in agricultural field contamination. And once petroleum attaches to the sand and gravel grains, it is virtually impossible to remove the product. Each time rain, snowmelt or irrigation infiltrates through the aquifer, petroleum will be mobilized, causing ongoing contamination.
What can you do?
Together we have a very good chance of stopping, re-routing or, at a minimum, making certain this is the safest pipeline ever built. These are our goals. Please help us. See the "Take Action" tab for ways you can help and be heard. Also please consider a donation to our organization using the Donate tab above.
If you still think pipelines are safe,
July 2002: Enbridge 34-inch diameter steel pipeline ruptured in a marsh west of Cohasset, Minnesota. To prevent 6,000 barrels (252,000 gallons) of crude oil from reaching the Mississippi River, the company set the oil on fire. The plume of smoke extended one mile high. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board blamed the rupture on “inadequate loading of the pipe for transportation.”
Michigan's Kalamazoo River cleanup - site of 2010 massive Enbridge pipeline oil spill. Imagine this on the Fishhook river! Read more about the biggest pipeline oil spill in US history. And what people are saying 4 years later - click here.
The following maps show the proposed Sandpiper pipeline route crossing our vulnerable lakes, rivers, wild rice and aquifers between Clearbrook and Superior Minnesota.
Please click on any of the images below for full view.