VALPARAISO | Several residents voiced their frustration about the lack of transparency and responsiveness from Enbridge Energy LP and state government agencies Thursday on the company's project to build a new oil pipeline in the region.
Enbridge is petitioning to begin work this year on a two-phase project to build a new oil pipeline near the site of an existing one. The new pipeline, as the current Line 6B, will originate in Griffith and end in Sarnia, Ontario.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing Thursday at the Valparaiso Public Library on eight applications Enbridge sent the agency to do construction within certain floodways including sections of Deep River, Coffee Creek and the Little Calumet River in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, respectively.
About 30 people attended the public hearing.
Nicole Barker, executive director of Michigan City-based nonprofit conservation organization Save The Dunes, said the company has yet to show regulators a comprehensive risk analysis of the project and the 60 miles of pipe that will span parts of Northwest Indiana.
"We want to make sure the additional risks are known in the project," Barker said.
Barker's organization led a petition to have the DNR hold a public hearing about Enbridge's applications. Barker said her organization has been in touch with state agencies since learning about the company's plans a few months ago.
Concerns also were raised about whether Enbridge sought enough permits from DNR since Save the Dunes estimated 82 water bodies would be traversed by the pipeline, said Nathan Pavlovic, land and advocacy specialist for the organization.
Jennifer Ware, environmental manager within the DNR Division of Water's Technical Services Branch, said the agency will reach out to Enbridge to ensure it sends applications for all work requiring permits.
Some residents also took the opportunity Thursday to describe the country's need to wean itself from oil and about taking concerns about climate change seriously.