People on the Pipeline

On June 24, Wisconsinites along the Line 61 Pipeline corridor took a day to celebrate. People cycled, picnicked, partied, and paraded to take a step back and enjoy the land they call home—land that is threatened by the proposed new Line 61-twin pipeline.

In Janesville along the Rock River, a group of a couple dozen marched to bring awareness to the danger of the current pipeline, Line 61, which is in the process of being upgraded to carry 1.2 MILLION barrels of tar sands oil underneath the Rock River every day.  A spill of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 caused irreparable damage to the local ecosystems, land, and water.  Rock County residents fear a similar story.

On the Glacial Drumline Trail, a group cycled 15 miles from Cottage Grove (the beginning of the trail) to Korth Park, passing the pipeline crossing near

the Lake Mills Wildlife Area. There, they discussed the blue corn seeds from the Ponca tribe, a gift from Bold Nebraska, the group spearheading the fight against Keystone XL.  “[The ride] gathered people from new groups, it was good to meet people interested in this important issue,” said Margret Bennett, a pipeline pedaler.

In Columbia County, another group gathered for a picnic. There were kites, lawn games, ice cream, and cookies, as well as conversations about what a pipeline spill could mean for farmland and natural resources. Charles Biddle, who hosted the picnic on his land, mowed strips along the pipeline corridor—one strip showed land currently used for the pipeline easement (80 feet) and one showed how much land (200 feet, potentially) would be taken if Enbridge builds another pipeline.

A paddle on the pipeline on the Namekagon River was postponed due to weather concerns, but stay tuned for when it’s rescheduled!

These statewide events brought together landowners, environmentalists, hobbyists and concerned citizens, all with a common respect and love for Wisconsin land. Enbridge, the company who owns and operates the pipelines, is Canadian. They’ve shown they don’t share this respect by trying to take Wisconsin land with eminent domain, not providing comprehensive safety plans to Wisconsinites close to the pipe and putting Wisconsin farmland and water at risk every day.

Pipeline opposition is often framed as a painstaking fight, but last Saturday people reframed this narrative. Connections were made, ice cream was eaten, and time was spent appreciating and enjoying the Wisconsin land they call home.


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