Hearing in Dane County Landowner Lawsuit vs. Enbridge — Pipeline Cleanup Insurance

From 350 Madison — Hearing Monday, April 11, 1:30pm — Dane County Circuit Court, 217 S. Hamilton St., fifth floor, Courtroom 5D, Branch 9

A hearing will be held this Monday, April 11, in Dane County Circuit Court on Enbridge Energy Company’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a group of landowners who live adjacent to the company’s Line 61 Waterloo pump station. The landowners are suing for injunctive relief to enforce the spill cleanup requirement imposed on Enbridge by Dane County’s Zoning and Land Regulation Committee. Briefing has been completed, and oral argument is scheduled for Monday before Judge Richard Niess.


350 Madison won a significant victory a year ago when the Dane County Board’s Zoning Committee required that Enbridge obtain cleanup insurance. Dane County imposed the requirement as a condition of approving Enbridge’s Waterloo pump station, which is part of the company’s plan to triple the volume of tar sands oil flowing through Line 61. At full capacity, the pipeline would carry 1.2 million barrels per day through the state, 45% more than the rejected Keystone XL.


The suit asserts that the Legislature’s last-minute addition to the 2015–17 state budget, apparently inserted at Enbridge’s behest, barred the county from enforcing the cleanup requirement but did not similarly bar enforcement by affected landowners and is not retroactive. Enbridge has moved to dismiss the complaint, and Judge Richard Niess will hear oral argument from both sides this Monday, April 11.