August 2019, Vol. 246, No. 8


State Supreme Court Backs Enbridge in Dane County Case

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Enbridge doesn’t need additional insurance for its Line 61 pipeline project in Dane County, despite the local government’s insistence. 

Dane County officials made a $25 million environmental liability policy a requirement for the company’s permit for a project to triple the flow of crude oil to 1.2 MMbpd, according to the Associated Press. 

The pipeline, which runs from northern Wisconsin to Illinois, was approved by the count in 2015 with the insurance requirement. In adding the stipulations, officials cited the major oil leak from an Enbridge pipeline near Marshall, Mich.

Enbridge appealed, but Wisconsin lawmakers intervened before the company’s challenge was decided, passing a last-minute provision in the state budget that blocked municipalities from imposing additional liability requirements when a pipeline operator already carries comprehensive insurance.

Dane County required the extra insurance anyway, prompting Enbridge to appeal at the circuit court level, where they won, only to have an appeals court decide that Enbridge hadn’t proven it carried enough insurance.

The high court reversed that, writing that Enbridge already had sufficient insurance.

“Enbridge is pleased with the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the Dane County Circuit Court’s decision to strike unenforceable insurance requirements from the (conditional use permit),” Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said. in a statement.

While the court battle played out, Enbridge finished its $1.5 billion upgrade to its pipeline and built the needed pumping station, since state lawmakers made Dane County’s requirement unenforceable. P&GJ

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