ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Issues with state and U.S. regulations mean pipeline operators like Enbridge may escape review, the National Wildlife Federation says.
Enbridge Energy Partners has plans to invest almost $250 million to update U.S. pipeline systems. That expansion would target a section of the Lakehead pipeline system from North Dakota to Wisconsin. Michigan regulators approved an overhaul to a state section of that pipeline, Line 6B, last week.
Beth Wallace, a global warming advocate for the Great Lakes region of the NWF, said from Ann Arbor, Mich., that Enbridge plans would double the amount of so-called tar sands oil flowing through its pipelines.
"In most situations Enbridge is breaking up their plans, state-by-state, which leaves the decisions up to state regulators -- who are not equipped to determine long-term or regional impacts -- and excludes the public from crucial opportunities to participate," she said in an interview.
Wallace said the Lakehead overhaul is an "egregious case" of a pipeline company skirting a permit process, like the one needed for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Enbridge spokesman Larry Springer said each part of its incremental growth program goes through state and federal review, however.
"The Enbridge projects are building upon an existing pipeline network whose distinct sections and projects have been thoroughly reviewed under applicable siting, environmental and other regulatory approval schemes, including, when necessary, presidential border crossing permits," he said.