Pipeline upgrades overshadowed by Keystone XL

May 3, 2013 at 12:15 PM

HOUSTON, May 3 (UPI) -- Plans to expand the capacity of a pipeline carrying tar sands oil from Canada into the United States are troubling, environmental groups say.

Pipeline company Enbridge said it plans to double the amount of oil it ships through its Alberta Clipper pipeline that runs from Alberta province to Wisconsin. Crude oil from there runs through other pipelines to the southern U.S. coast.

Energy policy director for the National Wildlife Federation Peter LaFontaine told Bloomberg News he was concerned that plans by Enbridge were overshadowed by projects like the planned Keystone XL pipeline.

"The public doesn't seem to have the same sort of attention for pipeline expansions as they do for pipeline construction," he said.

Sierra Club spokesman Eddie Scher agreed, saying the proposal to expand the Clipper project was "just as bad as Keystone."

Enbridge aims to expand the Clipper system so that it can carry as much as 880,000 barrels of oil per day by 2015. That's more than what's planned for Keystone XL.

Enbridge spokesman Larry Springer told Bloomberg that the expansion project wouldn't pose a significant environmental threat, however.

A section of the U.S. pipeline network operated by Enbridge burst open in Michigan in 2010, leading to the costliest onshore incident of its kind.

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