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Indiana Quarterly Report—Summer, 2013

Ongoing Issues: Enbridge Oil Pipeline, Grand Calumet River Cleanup

The Pipeline: Safety and the Wetlands 

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) plans to replace a section of a tar-sands oil-carrying pipeline, damaged in a 2010 rupture, across the northwest part of the state.  Canadian energy company Enbridge is the contractor.

The state’s current pipeline runs across Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph counties.

EDEM will begin a project to increase the size of this pipeline from 30 inches to 36 inches.  The project will affect a large number of wetlands, up to 145.

Information about when the project will begin is not currently available from IDEM. The agency has stated, however, that the pipeline poses no significant risk to regional water quality. Local environmental groups nevertheless are wary.  Recently, for example, a diesel fuel leak in May 2013 created serious concern. See more here: Indiana Pipeline Leaks Diesel Fuel

Environmental groups however may be encouraged to hear that Enbridge will be hiring Independent Environmental Monitors to review environmental concerns.

Cleaning Up Old Man River 

Cleanup of a section of the Grand Calumet River began last month between Kennedy and Cline Avenue along I 94.  The project is being performed under the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which is the legislation that created 30 Great Lakes Areas of Concern. As the EPA describes it, “Contaminated sediment in the 30 Areas of Concern, together with degraded former industrial sites, or brownfields, are major impediments to communities struggling to revitalize their waterfronts with new commercial enterprises, real estate and recreational amenities that can boost tourism.”   The river is definitely one of these areas, and the Legacy Act provides the funds for its cleanup.  See more here: Great Lakes Legacy Act

Cleanup is expected to last for three years and will remove or isolate 1.2 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment.  It will restore more than 50 acres of wetland habitat.  Phragmites, invasive plants, will be removed from the wetlands. See more at Grand Cal Area of Concern 

The League at Work:  Indiana LWV Natural Resources Committee Report

Jeanette Neagu, La Porte County LWV, chairs Indiana LWV’s 2013-14 Natural Resources Committee, which has members statewide.  Their first order of business was to set an agenda for their work with water, land use, and air quality concerns in Indiana.  Water quality issues include septic systems, combined sewer overflows, non-point source water pollution (and the need for buffer zones between agriculture and water), and nitrate removal by sanitary districts.  Land use concerns include confined animal feeding operations, wetlands protection, and oil pipelines.  Air quality issues will be responded to as needed.   Stay tuned! 

–Submitted by Indiana delegate Mary Jo Gorman

Also see for pipeline sources:

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130207/enbridge-6b-pipeline-safety-michigan-public-service-commission-indiana-brandon-township-dilbit-oil-sands-tar-sands

http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-05/indiana-oil-pipeline-mixed-bag-environment-107435

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