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Forest Service Open House Stirs up Controversy

July 27, 2017 11:22 PM

ASHLAND - An open house was held at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland on Thursday to discuss a special use permit proposal for the Line 5 Enbridge Pipeline.  

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The US Forest Service received a request from Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership to maintain an existing pipeline.

"We have an important role to play in this because we have a permit to consider for renewal," said Paul Strong, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Supervisor.  

Members of the community were encouraged to come out and give their input about the proposal for the renewal of the pipeline.

The US Forest Service hosts a section of the pipeline that runs underground about 11.5 miles from Superior, Wisconsin to Port Huron, Michigan.  

It moves crude oil and natural gas throughout the area.

The crude oil is then refined into gasoline and diesel while the natural gas liquids are converted into propane.

"People don't realize how critical pipelines play in everyday lives," said Trent Wetmore, Enbridge Superior Region Director of Operations.

Joy Schelble is an Ashland County community member and a mother who works with children, serving them in the Bad River Reservation. 

She has concerns about Enbridge, and is worried about the safety of the children. 

"I don't want kids to get sick. I don't want this to be Flint, Michigan. I don't want poison water. I don't want people getting cancer down the road with no explanation," said Schelble.

Schelble also disagreed with the format that was used for the open house.

"They should've allowed us to come as citizens of this community, hear what each other has to say, and they needed to respond to all of us," said Schelble. 

Wetmore says that Enbridge respects everybody's opinions but wants people to understand how critical pipelines are in everyday lives. 

"I think it's good for people to have that awareness and understanding of really maybe how they take that for granted and they don't realize how important they are," said Wetmore.  

The pipeline was constructed in 1953.

It moves 540,000 barrels of gas and oil around the area each day.  


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