“The smell from the oil was so strong that you couldn’t go outside, that you would actually taste it.”
Grand Marsh, WI
14 years on the pipeline
Living off the land, Jim and Marsha Klopfer hunt, garden, and have raised horses on their property in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin over the past fourteen years. Just beyond their barn and pasture lies the existing Enbridge oil pipeline in an ecologically important space.
“In this area there are several endangered species,” says Marsha Klopfer, referring to the Blue Karner Butterfly and Blanding’s turtle. The Klopfers fear any additional encroachment of Enbridge’s pipeline in the vicinity of their property could further endanger these species and the land itself.
In 2012, an oil pipeline rupture across the road from the Klopfer’s residence caused great damage to the local environment, including release of benzine, a known carcinogen, into the air.
“It was black…[and] probably bigger than half of a football field,” says Jim Klopfer about the size of the oil spillage. While Enbridge offered to relocate the Klopfers to a hotel, they claim the oil company did not stress the potential dangers of remaining so close to the spill.
“You put your trust in people to do the best thing and it’s very unfortunate,” says Marsha Klopfer.