May 19, 2015
A Canadian oil distributor that is responsible for hundreds of spills since 1999 is among several companies that will get an environmental award this week from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC). The Department of Natural Resources, which enforces environmental laws, helped choose the award recipients.
Enbridge Energy and 21 other companies will receive WMC’s Business Friend of the Environment Award on Thursday. The award winners were selected by a panel of representatives from industry, DNR, the University of Wisconsin and so-called environmental groups, according to WMC, the state’s largest business group and a political heavyweight when it comes to influencing state policymaking, spending and elections.
Enbridge was cited in a report by the Polaris Institute for having more than 800 oil spills between 1999 and 2010, including the largest inland oil spill in the country in 2010 when one of its pipelines burst and polluted 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River with at least 843,000 gallons of crude. Enbridge has spent more than $1 billion to clean up the spill, and agreed to a $75 million settlement just last week by the state of Michigan.
In 2009, Enbridge Energy Partners, the Canadian company’s U.S. affiliate, agreed to pay a $1.1 million fine to the state of Wisconsin to settle a lawsuit accusing the company of several environmental violations during the construction of one of its pipelines between Alberta, Canada, and Chicago. At the time, Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said, “The incidents of violation were numerous and widespread, and resulted in impacts to the streams and wetlands throughout the various watersheds.”
The DNR has been on the panel that selects the WMC environmental award winners at least as far back as 1999.
In addition to Enbridge, other well-known business, manufacturing, agriculture and health companies that WMC will honor include Frito Lay, MillerCoors, Oshkosh Defense and Xcel Energy. Owners, executives and political action committees with 11 of the 22 companies picked to receive awards contributed about $219,000 between January 2010 and Oct. 20, 2014, to Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Those companies and their contributions were:
|Gundersen Health System, La Crosse||$37,595|
|Excel Energy, Eau Claire||$21,668|
|Masters Gallery Foods, Plymouth||$2,250|
|Frit Lay, Beloit||$1,255|
|Nucor Cold Finish Wisconsin, Oak Creek||$1,000|
|Fox River Fiber, De Pere||$1,000|
|Enbridge Energy, Janesville||$850|
|Waupaca Foundry, Waupaca||$725|
|Grede LLC, Reedsburg||$105|