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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


The Canadian oil company Enbridge Energy reported to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources a leak of Line 13 — a pipeline of chemicals used to dilute petroleum— near Fort Atkinson in July 2020. That was more than a year after the company first discovered it.

The department issued a letter of violation to the company for delayed reporting of the 1,200-gallon spill. 

Enbridge officials claimed the delay resulted from a miscalculation regarding the size of the leak, with the initial amount small enough to forgo reporting.

A 2014 Canadian documentary alleged Enbridge had a history of unreported spills in Canada. Michigan officials criticized the company in 2017 for failing to report damage to an underwater pipeline in the area connecting lakes Michigan and Huron. And in 2022, Minnesota officials said the company failed to reveal the volume of drilling fluid used on a pipeline construction project.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: ‘I can’t trust them anymore’: Residents of Fort Atkinson shocked that 2019 petroleum spill by Enbridge went unreported for over a year

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: DNR says Enbridge violated law when it waited more than a year to report 2019 spill near Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson Online: Residents express frustration over Enbridge’s handling of Jefferson County spill

Toronto Star: Enbridge Line 9: W5 uncovers unreported spills, alarming communities along 830-km pipe

S&P Global: Underwater photos show missing coating on Enbridge liquids pipe in Great Lakes

Minnesota Public Radio News: Minn. lawmaker demands data on Line 3 frac-outs

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Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.