Update on Lake Superior Barrels Project December 18th

Lake Superior Barrels Project
December 18th Washburn, WI
Washburn Library
 Program will begin at 6:00


Since the mid 1990’s, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has been researching and conducting investigations on approximately 1,450 55-gallon barrels dumped into Gichigami (Lake Superior) by the US Army between 1959 and 1962 in collaboration with the Army Corp of Engineers and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). It is the goal and responsibility of the Red Cliff Band to fully characterize the type and extent of Department of Defense wastes, which may have impacts on the natural resources within the Ceded Territory. The Red Cliff Band is dedicated to working with federal agencies to clean up, restore and protect the ecosystems of the Ceded Territory. The Red Cliff Band is also committed to the economy, natural resources, and cultural uses within Chippewa Ceded Territory and to determine if further remedial work is required to preserve and protect the rich natural resources of Gichigami.
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has a Cooperative Agreement with Army Corp of Engineers to provide an update to area stakeholders who also have a vested interest in this project. A PowerPoint program will be presented and also any questions that may arise will be answered. These informational sessions are open to the public.
Gary Defoe Jr. Project Manager                                      Frank K. Koehn                                                            
88455 Pike Road                                                                619 17th Ave. W
Bayfield WI 54814                                                              Ashland, WI 54844
Phone: 715-779-3650                                                        218.341.8822                                            
gary.defoejr@redcliff-nsn.gov                                         frankjkoehn@gmail.com        

LWV/ABC's Letter to DNR re: Request for Input on Enbridge Sandpiper Pipeline Project

At an August meeting, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requested public input to help determine the scope of an environmental impact statement for the Enbridge Sandpiper Pipeline construction and replacement project in northwestern Douglas County. 

The following letter was sent by our president, with the approval of our board, in response to that request.

Please add your input regarding this project to ours!

See our related Action Item for information about submitting input to the DNR.


September 3, 2014


Jeff Schimpff
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921



RE:  Enbridge Pipeline EIS


Dear Mr. Schimpff:

We are writing to urge DNR to conduct a broad and thorough assessment of the environmental impacts associated with Enbridge Energy’s Douglas County Sandpiper Pipeline proposal.  The potential impacts of this project would include oil leaks and spills into waters in the Lake Superior basin, and as precious as Lake Superior is, any proposals which put it at risk should be subjected to intense scrutiny.  Furthermore, this proposed pipeline would facilitate increased production and consumption of shale oil, particularly troublesome from a climate change perspective.  Those impacts should feature prominently in the environmental analysis of the Enbridge proposal.

As you have indicated, the proposal would involve extending the pipeline from the Bakken Shale region in North Dakota.  That crude is an especially hazardous material, in that its corrosivity will increase the likelihood of spills and leaks.  The Kalamazoo River disaster in Michigan in 2010, as well as incidents closer to home—the pipeline ruptures in Clark and Rusk County in 2007 and in Grand Marsh last summer, are examples of the dangers this pipeline expansion would pose.  Given Enbridge’s role in the largest inland oil spill in our nation’s history and over 800 oil spills in the past 15 years, the prospect of allowing it to increase its crude shipments in the Lake Superior basin is troubling, indeed.

As disturbing are the climate change impacts of the pipeline.  We understand that this line would be a “key enabler” for tar sands crude expansion projects, and tar sands oil is far “dirtier” than other oil with respect to carbon emissions.  In part because the extraction process is extremely carbon intensive and destroys vast areas of Canadian boreal forest, one of the globe’s largest carbon sequestration sites, greenhouse gas emissions associated with tar sands oil are approximately 17 % greater than other oil.  Any project which will facilitate increased production, transportation, and/or consumption of tar sands oil should be the subject of a detailed environmental impact statement which examines all of the potential adverse consequences, including the risk of catastrophic Lake Superior oil spills, the destruction of pristine boreal forests, and increased carbon emissions.  

We are inclined to agree with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial writer who observed that “Earth’s finest collection of fresh water—Lake Superior and the Upper Great Lakes—is not a reasonable location for a major transportation corridor designed to carry tar sands crude oil to the overseas market.”  We were encouraged to learn that it is the Department’s intent to look at not only “direct local effects,” but also at the “broader impacts at regional, statewide and larger scales.”  We urge you to conduct the fullest possible environmental assessment of this project.


Madelaine Herder
League of Women Voters of Ashland and Bayfield Counties

Report on Ashland NSP Superfund Site Clean-Up

Image of the site courtesy of the Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center at Michigan State University.

Image of the site courtesy of the Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center at Michigan State University.


LWV Community Advocates Kim Bro, Betty Harnsich and Shari Eggleson attended an update on Superfund cleanup in Ashland on Monday 6/16/2014. Following is their report.


Ashland NSP Superfund Site


Ashland’s lakeshore in the vicinity of the old sewage treatment plant, marina, and Kreher Park was contaminated 100 years ago by coal gasification operations conducted by NSP’s predecessor (NSP assumed its liabilities).  The oily, tar-like contaminants seeped into the upland soils and groundwater, and contaminated sediments found their way into Chequamegon Bay.  After years of studies and negotiations, NSP has finally commenced the clean-up of the land portion of the contamination this summer, in accordance with plans approved by DNR and EPA. 

NSP has built a fence around the site and is sealing off the area with a steel barrier wall along the lakeshore and a clay barrier trench around the other three sides of the site.  There is quite a lot of noise right now and some odor from digging the trench.  NSP has installed eight continuous air monitoring stations around the perimeter of the site both at the lake level and at the upper level to make sure levels of contaminants in the air in the vicinity do not exceed safe levels. They also have a person who regularly walks around the fence line with an air monitoring unit. There is more infrastructure to be installed: a concrete pad to hold the contaminated soil and a giant tent-like building that will cover the "thermal desorption unit."  This unit will heat the contaminated soil so hot that the contaminants will burn completely to carbon dioxide and water.  This Phase I is expected to be completed in January, 2015, at a cost of $28-40 million.

Later this summer, NSP plans to start a pilot project authorized by the EPA “Record of Decision” to attempt to show that the contaminated sediments in the bay can be safely and effectively removed using a wet dredging process rather than the more expensive dry dredging process already approved by EPA.  That project is scheduled to be completed in October.  An agreement for implementation of this Phase II of the project (contaminated sediment remediation) must still be negotiated.

There also is an issue about what happens to the wastewater generated at the site, from dewatering activities and from the groundwater extraction (pump & treat) systems.  There will be a treatment plant on the property, but it has not yet been determined what will happen to the treated water.  It could be discharged to the Ashland Wastewater Treatment Plant, or it could be discharged directly to Lake Superior.  Continued monitoring of this issue could be needed.

Betty Harnisch and Kim Bro have been representing the LWV/ABC on the Citizens Advisory Council established some time ago to advise the agencies working on the project and act as community liaisons.


Response of DNR re our letter: Enbridge Energy Permit Application No. 13-DCF-129

This is the response to our letter of May 15.


Thank you for providing comments on the draft construction permit for the Enbridge Energy pipeline terminal in Superior, WI.

The Department has made its decision regarding this construction permit.   The Department issued the permit in accordance with the Wisconsin Statutes, chapters NR 400 – 499 and NR 150, Wisconsin Administrative Code on June 12, 2014.

Electronic copies of the final approval cover letter, the Department’s findings of fact, the final permit, our responses to comment, the original application, original review, comments that were received but not directly incorporated into the responses to comments document, and other information regarding the permit review can be found on the DNR website. 


In the field “permit no.” enter      13-DCF-129      and click on the “search” button to do a search for this permit number.

This will open a new window:  Click on the upper tab   “Permits and Permit Applications”

This will open a window showing all of the permits.  Scroll down and select 13-DCF-129.   This will open a window with all of the permit documents associated with that permit number.  It may be necessary to scroll through the list to locate your files of interest.


Regards,  Neal E. Baudhuin

Northern Region Air Management Supervisor
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
107 Sutliff Avenue, Rhinelander, WI 54501
715/365-8958; Fax: 715/365-8932
General WDNR Information: 1-888-936-7463
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