As Enbridge lays the groundwork to build an additional pipeline, current landowners are threatened with the possibility of Enbridge using eminent domain to take their property for the new pipeline, without their permission.
On May 4, over sixty people attended the Property Rights and Pipelines Lobby Day at the Wisconsin State Capitol, hosted by the WiSE Alliance and 80 Feet is Enough! As Enbridge lays the groundwork to build an additional pipeline, current landowners are threatened with the possibility of Enbridge using eminent domain to take their property for the new pipeline, without their permission. Their message was clear: a foreign oil company should not be allowed to take our land for their private gain without our permission. As Paul Wehking, a landowner in Marshall, WI stated: “It is an infringement on property owner rights and against the Wisconsin constitution.”
Landowners and neighbors met with their legislators to discuss their experiences with Enbridge and ask them to sponsor a bill that would prohibit eminent domain for private gain for oil pipelines. The group met with 21 Legislators (9 Senators; 15 Representatives) that have districts that the pipeline travels through. Attendees felt like listened to and had positive meetings. Many legislators agreed to look into the issue more, do more research, and talk to others.
The day began with lunch and a training. Many took a bus from Marshfield down to the Capitol. Most lobby meetings had between 4-8 constituents, though some were as large as a dozen. For the majority of the attendees, this was their first Lobby Day. This and the personal stories told made a difference to the legislators. One Legislator even remarked that the group ‘had a presence’ in the Capitol.
The day ended with a celebration at the Argus sharing stories, meeting each other, and an informal conversation about how we can keep the momentum going! If you’d like to get involved in reforming our eminent domain laws, let us know!