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Proposed pipeline move brings large response in DNR hearing

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Enbridge is looking to move its propane pipeline in the Northwoods. Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) heard from the public as part of its environmental impact survey process.

Line 5 has run through Northern Wisconsin counties since the 1950s. According to Enbridge, it supplies 65 percent of homes with propane in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Just this year, the Bad River Tribe filed a lawsuit against Enbridge, as the pipeline goes through the Bad River Reservation.

Jennifer Giegerich spoke on an hours-long call with the DNR. She said, "Their families and their way of life is being put at risk from the pollution this pipeline will bring."

The new route, proposed by Enbridge, crosses over 186 rivers in the Northwoods.

Dreux Watermolen is Program Manager for the DNR, tasked with determining the environmental impact of moving this pipeline. He clarified, "the DNR's authority with respect to the proposed project covers only the impacts of pipeline construction on waterways wetlands and erosion. "

People from across the Midwest joined the call on Wednesday, but local residents spoke about the local impact. Elly Syverson is an 18-year-old from Ashland. She said, "I am going to college this year but I am planning to come back and I want to live in a place with clean water."

Some did speak in support of the pipeline project, though they were not the majority.

Terry Hayden is President of Wisconsin's Pipe Trades Association. He pointed to the jobs created by construction projects like this. He also argued a pipeline is safer than transporting via vehicles, saying, "pipelines are and will continue to remain to be the safest and most energy efficient means to transfer such fuels and other products."

Critics of Enbridge pointed to multiple spills recently and over the past decade.

Manager Watermolen said the DNR will address the concerns raised monday in the final results of its Environmental Impact Survey.

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Tom Lally

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