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Permit approved for pipeline expansion

SUPERIOR, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  State officials have approved an air emission permit that will let a pipeline carry three times the amount of crude oil that it does now across Wisconsin. Yesterday's approval by the D-N-R paves the way for Enbridge Energy to boost the flow of its current line to 1.2-million barrels of oil per day from Superior to the Chicago area.

Environmental groups condemned the permit approval, saying the D-N-R should have done a complete analysis of the line to determine the possibility of oil spills. The D-N-R examined that risk at the Enbridge terminal in Superior -- but officials said they did not have to re-check the rest of the line, because they already did that several years ago when it was first put in. Environmental groups said the D-N-R should have considered Enbridge Energy's past record of spills -- but in this case, officials said the law would not have allowed it.

Elizabeth Ward of the Sierra Club said the state ignored thousands of comments favoring a full environmental impact statement on the increased oil flow, even though the pipeline itself is not expanding. D-N-R air regulator Kristin Hart said her agency read all the comments, and decided there was no need for a full review. The agency received 200 letters and 3,400 e-mails on the project.