Fight the Line 61 ‘twin’ Enbridge Pipeline
Become an Intervenor in the ICC Approval Process!
- Built in 2009, Line 61 runs from Superior, WI through the heart of that state. It crosses into Illinois near Rockford, where it continues south through Boone, DeKalb, LaSalle and Livingston Counties. It ends at the Flanagan storage terminal near Pontiac.
- Enbridge ‘upgraded’ Line 61 in 2015 with additional pumping stations. This increased its capacity from 400,000 to 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd).
- Enbridge had identified a Line 61 ‘twin’ as an expansion opportunity (Jan 2017) in reports to investors. The proposed “twin” diameter would be 42 inches, the same size as its twin, the 1.2 million bpd Line 61.
Should we allow a private foreign pipeline company to seize land from Illinois citizens for yet another pipeline? Should we allow them to pump tar sands bitumen on a path to the Gulf Coast for export?
What is the Approval Process in Illinois?
- In Illinois, the private pipeline company files a request to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).
- The request is for a Certificate of Good Standing and the authority to seize private property using eminent domain. The private company must show that it made ‘reasonable attempts’ to negotiate with landowners. It must also show that, among other things, it is financially able to complete the project, that there is a public need for the pipeline and that public convenience and necessity require the pipeline.
Enter the Intervenors
- The ICC is a quasi -judicial body, and the pipeline approval process has traditionally involved landowners, jobs -related organizations, the private pipeline company, and a few organizations such as the Farm Bureau (IAA), all represented by attorneys – an expensive undertaking.
- Recently, a young mother set ICC precedent by intervening as a taxpayer, doing so as a ‘pro se’ intervenor. ‘Pro se’ (Latin: for himself) means without a lawyer. Intervening provides a way for every citizen to become a part of this democratic process and ensure that the greater interests of current and future Illinoisans become an integral part of the ICC proceedings.
Become an Intervenor
- Your participation in the ICC process can range from simple to quite complex depending on your level of interest. The entire process will span several months, but your direct involvement requires only a few well-defined submittals, even at the most complex level. Here is an overview of the levels:
- Request an e-Docket account. Completion of this step allows you to follow the pipeline approval process, establish an electronic signature, and submit documents electronically, should you choose to proceed beyond this level. However, involving a large number of people in this first simple step will send a message to the ICC that the public is now awake and watching.
- File a Petition to Intervene. The next step, should you decide to proceed, cannot take place until the private pipeline company files a request and the ICC assigns a docket number. This step is also quite easy and SOIL will provide you with a template.
- However, if you plan to continue beyond this step, you should explain how the pipeline would affect you (i.e. establish standing). Fortunately, the ICC has set a low bar for standing by allowing 60 Plus Association, Inc. to intervene, without challenge, because ‘supporters ’ purchase energy. To avoid complicated challenges to your intervention it is wise to choose a single, well-researched issue, one that fellow intervenors are not using. SOIL has a mechanism to help you with this.
- The Administrative Law Judge in the proceeding will define additional steps and establish a calendar. SOIL will provide templates for all additional steps if you choose to proceed. But please remember, any level of participation you choose will help. SOIL will support you at each step in the process
Please contact SOIL if you wish to join this exercise in democracy, or if you have questions. (Phone: 847-893-9095, Email: SaveOurIllinoisLand@gmail.com)