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County Committee Rejects Enbridge Road Agreement

Tue, 06 May 2014 16:16:02 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

A long delaying action to fight a proposed Enbridge Energy company pipeline through McLean County continues. The group Illinois People's Action sent about 30 people to the McLean County Board Transportation Committee Meeting to oppose a blanket road use permit for Enbridge Trucks as they lay down the pipeline. The McLean County Board Transportation Committee decided not to facilitate Enbridge Energy's use of county roads. The Committee voted three to one against allowing a blanket road agreement for Enbridge Trucks that are overweight. Enbridge is building the pipeline to pump thick Canadian tar sands oil to southern Illinois for refining. The vote came after a demonstration by Illinois People's Action. IPA representative Barbara Heyl says the pipeline will cross Money Creek, a drinking water source for the city of Bloomington.

"If there would be a spill in that vicinity, then tar sands would be into the creek bed, actually empties into Lake Bloomington which is the source of our water."

IPA says Canadian tar sands oil poses a particular environmental threat if it spills into water sources because it is heavier than water and much more difficult to clean up.

The measure would have saved the county bureaucratic overhead by allowing road workers to survey the condition of roads before and after Enbridge truck use and then take repair costs out of an Enbridge bond. Now, Enbridge will have to apply for a series of special use permits for each road it wants to use with an overweight vehicle. County Administrator Bill Wasson says the county's cost recovery is also more complex.

"Those road use agreements make it a more manageable process for us, from an administrative standpoint."

Heyl says, though, the show of opposition was important.

"Of course it does not stop the pipeline, but it did give an opportunity for some voices in the community to be heard by elected officials."

County Board Member Victoria Harris says the pipeline will be detrimental to the environment. Wasson says the blanket road use agreement could come back to the committee or go to the full County Board another way in June or later.


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