WiSE Alliance and 80 Feet is Enough! launch new video series!

People Over Pipelines: Wisconsin Families Working to Protect Our Homes and Communities

Today, the WiSE Alliance and 80 Feet is Enough! launched a series of short videos that feature Wisconsin landowners along the Line 61 corridor.  The series, People Over Pipelines: Wisconsin Families Working to Protect Our Homes and Communities shows people working to save their homes and property from the proposed new Enbridge tar sands pipeline, known as Line 66. The twelve short videos in the series are filled with these stories – from previous damage done by Enbridge to the potential destruction of homes, land, and water resources.  Viewers will see what these families cherish and what they stand to lose.  

The series features stories from across Wisconsin, depicting how Wisconsin families are working to save their homes and property from the threat of the potential new Line 66 pipeline.  Enbridge sought and received a legislative change making them eligible to use eminent domain. Families throughout Wisconsin are now threatened with the loss of their property and homes through the use of eminent domain for private gain.  

“We want the public to understand the double whammy that all Wisconsin residents are threatened by. First, the policy of eminent domain for private gain means that all of us could lose our homes to companies that decide it would enhance their business. And another huge pipeline pumping tar sands mixed with toxic chemicals at tremendous pressure, crossing 200+ Wisconsin streams and rivers, puts us all at risk in the case of leaks and ruptures,” explained Keith Merkel with 80 Feet is Enough! “These videos demonstrate this unexpected and unfair threat that we are facing,” concluded Merkel.  

Starting today, there will be a video published weekly here and on our Facebook and YouTube pages.  

Take Action
At the end of every video, viewers are invited to sign a petition to the Public Service Commission (the state agency that could grant Enbridge the power of eminent domain for this project), asking them to hold a hearing in every county crossed by the proposed pipeline before ruling on the issue.  

tell the PSC

Credits and thank you’s
These videos are the product of hundreds of hours of work by volunteers, and a generous gift from the Property Rights and Pipeline Center, and the kindness of landowners to let us into their lives.  Our professional videographer who spent his time to do the interviews, and did the first round of editing was Michael O’Rourke.  Second video editors were Bob Minceberg (also Music Editor) and Katie O’Connell, who volunteered countless hours implementing the changes proposed by Phyllis Hasbrouck, WiSE organizer.  Elizabeth  Ward, Keith Merkel, Mark Borchardt, Mary Beth Elliott, and Cathy Loeb helped create the idea, find video subjects, and organize the launch of this series.  This project and the love and sweat that went into it demonstrates the power behind the coalition that will stop the Line 66 Pipeline.

The views expressed by the speakers are theirs alone and not necessarily those of the WiSE Alliance.

Clark County becomes 5th County to call for eminent domain reform

On August 16, Clark County became the fifth county in the state to pass a resolution calling on the state legislature to reform our eminent domain laws and prohibit the use of eminent domain for private profit for oil pipelines.  

In 2015, Enbridge worked behind the scenes to change Wisconsin’s eminent domain laws, making them eligible to use eminent domain to build another pipeline through Wisconsin.  In June, Enbridge received approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to build a new pipeline in Minnesota that would bring extra oil into Wisconsin, creating the need for a new pipeline.  In response, current Enbridge easement holders are calling for eminent domain reform to ensure their land can’t be taken by eminent domain, just to let Enbridge boost their profits with no benefit to Wisconsin.  In an effort to show support for stopping this unjust abuse of eminent domain, landowners are asking their County Board Supervisors to stand with them.

On Thursday, landowners in Clark County and throughout Wisconsin called on their County Board to pass a resolution calling for the prohibition of eminent domain for private gain.  Over two dozen landowners and supporters attended the meeting and spoke about their concerns. Testimony included:

  • Bill Leichtnam, Wood County Supervisor (sponsor of the resolution that kicked of this campaign), showed support for the resolution and explained he sponsored the resolution and the board passed it because “we didn’t feel it was right for a foreign company to take land for a pipeline to pass through Wisconsin with no benefit.”

  • Julian Kulinski, a Clark County resident with an Enbridge easement, powerfully stated:
    “We had no problem with Eminent Domain then.  The law was justly wrought and fair. Today, things stand differently, a foreign company is running arrogantly on American soil.  A private foreign interest will profit from the tar sands oil – pumped at higher pressure and more likely to leak – all the way to the Gulf, but not because America needs it.  We have more than enough oil, and are even exporting an amount equal to 20% of what we use. The Eminent Domain law has been corrupted, altered to make this possible. This was done without a public hearing, without proper legislative process.  This is in conflict with the purpose of Eminent Domain law. This is also in conflict with the 5th amendment.”
  • Keith Merkel, of 80 Feet is Enough!, spoke about how Enbridge’s ability to use eminent domain puts landowners at a disadvantage.   He explained, “Landowners don’t receive royalties but we pay taxes on the easement land. We could have to clean up the pipeline in the future so we may want a better deal [to help pay for that]. With eminent domain, Enbridge has no incentive to negotiate fairly.  This is downright un-American.”

  • Supervisor Bryce Luchterhand stated, “When Enbridge was here and we asked if they intended to use eminent domain.  They said they didn’t think so, but were planning to keep it in their pocket. This was a lie.”

Two others also spoke and the board unanimously approved the resolution.  You can watch the full discussion here.

Clark County residents were inspired by the recent passage of a resolution in Jefferson County.  20180710_190218On July 10, Jefferson County passed a resolution calling on the legislature to review our eminent domain laws and disallow any use of eminent domain that wouldn’t have been allowed prior to 2015 (when the laws were changed).  The resolution passed 23-4 after six people eloquently spoke including someone who is under the threat of eminent domain by Enbridge delivered 125 signatures in support of eminent domain reform. There was standing room only with dozens of landowners and concerned citizens present, leading the board to take stronger action than it previously had.  You can learn more here.

Five counties have passed resolutions calling for eminent domain reform: Wood, Walworth, Rock, Jefferson, and Clark.  Additionally, the Town of Rome (Adams County) passed the resolution. Contact us if you’d like to get involved in this effort.  

Line 3 Decision in Minnesota

Last week the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) made their decision on the Line 3 Pipeline.  Unfortunately, the PUC basically granted Enbridge everything they wanted: they get to build their new, bigger pipeline, they get to do it in their new, destructive corridor, and they don’t have to clean up the old pipeline.  You can read more about the decision from Winona La Duke’s article in Indian Country News here.

Groups across Wisconsin recognized how devastating the decision was.  Here is the press release from many groups in Wisconsin.

Landowners in Columbia County and Jefferson County responded to the decision also.  Read their press releases here.

6.28 Columbia County Release
Jefferson County Release

Landowners team up and get ready

The second half of April and all of May were with building a strong resistance to a new tar sands pipeline.  Enbridge continued laying the groundwork for their Line 61-twin or Line 66pipeline.  While they continue to deny any “immediate plans” to build the pipeline, landowners throughout the state have been receiving calls and letters for ‘surveys’.  As the Wisconsin Easement Action Team explains:

It is clear the survey is targeting landowners along the pipeline route, even new landowners who would be in the next pipeline path.  Though the phone surveyors say they don’t know who is funding it, a survey specific to landowners along the line only benefits Enbridge, so they are likely behind it.  This is yet another sign that they are continuing to move forward on the new Line 66 Pipeline.  You’ve probably gotten the survey, but if you haven’t yet, the questions ask about your thoughts on the pipeline, on Enbridge, and on groups like WEAT.

Enbridge’s questions appear to be geared for three goals:

  1. Determine our strengthby finding out how many landowners belong to pipeline opposition groups in Wisconsin
  2. Learn what kinds of messages will workin advertising to turn public opinion in favor of Enbridge and against “selfish” landowners who are NIMBYs (Not In MY Backyard) or “radical” environmentalists.
  3. Collect information on each landowner for their files. As our attorney, Brian Jorde, reminds us pipeline companies divide landowners into groups and go after the ‘easy ones’ first. They also pre-determine the amount of money they can offer to distract us from the fine-print.  Knowing each landowner’s opinions will help Enbridge the next time they need to negotiate for more land.

Despite their plans to figure out the best way to take advantage of landowners and to divide and conquer communities, people in Wisconsin and Illinois have taken a different approach—landowners and community members are teaming up and building partnerships that will stop the pipeline.

Here are some of the highlights from the last month:

WEAT Tour Engages throughout Wisconsin AND Illinois:

At the end of April, WEAT’s attorney, Brian Jorde, flew in from Nebraska for a series of meetings with landowners.  He and WEAT Board Members, (Keith Merkel, Gwen Stone, and Mark Borchardt) spoke about WEAT and the things landowners should be concerned about during negotiations with Enbridge.  This includes things like: 1.) Liability (who is responsible if something happens? Landowners? Enbridge? The Construction workers putting in the pipeline?), 2.) Annual payments instead of a one-time payment, and 3.) How much temporary work space they’ll be allowed to take.

Events were held in Ladysmith, Spencer, Nekoosa, Fort Atkinson, Clinton, and DeKalb.  It was the first WEAT Tour that included Illinois, and WEAT has formally expanded to allow Illinois landowners to join.  Throughout the weekend landowners met each other, recognized similarities in each other’s stories, and began discussing ways they can get their stories out there.

Throughout May, groups met in Rusk and Clark Counties to build on this and start making plans of how they can work together to protect their homes and property rights.

 

Columbia County Planning and Zoning Committee

In early April, the Columbia County Planning and Zoning Committee proposed changing the permitting requirements in a way that would eliminate all local permitting for pipelines.  If passed, Columbia County would not have a say when Enbridge wants to build the Line 66 pipeline.  It could not ensure that if the pipeline were built, the community and tax payers would be protected from negative impacts.  The proposal was delayed and was on the agenda again the first week of May.

As a result, dozens of landowners called and wrote to their supervisors and many attended the Planning and Zoning Committee hearings. They spoke about their concerns and called on the committee to strengthen, instead of weaken the safeguards in place.  Luckily, the calls, letters, and attendance at the meeting worked!20180501_160350.jpg

The Committee decided to keep the laws the way they are for now and to work later to change them.  Columbia County WiSE is committed to working with the committee to come up with ways to ensure that the residents of Columbia County are protected.

Dane County landowners win their lawsuit

In 2014 Enbridge applied for a permit to build a pumping station in Dane County that would allow their Line 61 pipeline to triple the amount of oil flowing through it.  This was a huge concern for many residents and for the Dane County Zoning and Land Regulation (ZLR) Committee, because it’s unprecedented in the U.S. for a tar sands oil pipeline to flow at such a high pressure and with such a high volume.

Given the heightened concerns about a potential spill and the impact on the community (as demonstrated by the Kalamazoo Spill in 2010), the Dane County Zoning Committee required that Enbridge purchase additional insurance that ensures that if there is a spill, Dane County residents won’t be on the hook for paying to clean it up.

An eleventh hour budget change tried to block Dane County from requiring insurance.  Enbridge denies any responsibility for the law change, but they are the only beneficiary of it. Enbridge sued the County for requiring insurance and seven landowners from the impacted region also filed expressing their desire for the spill insurance.  A long court battle ensued.  In February, the Court of Appeals agreed to listen to both sides and weigh in.

On May 24, the Court agreed with the landowners and the county, ruling that they have a right to know they will be protected if and when a spill occurs.

 

These are just a few of the highlights from the last couple months.

With Enbridge moving forward and possibly getting the greenlight from Minnesota next week, now is the time to continue to build on our momentum.

Now, for the first time, you can show your support for our work by getting a lawn sign that will educate the public and show the strength of our movement!  Learn more here.

 

Line 3 Recommendation in Minnesota: What does it mean?

Yesterday was the start of the end of the decision process in Minnesota regarding the Line 3 Replacement project.

BACKGROUND:
All eyes have been on Minnesota and Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 Replacement Pipeline.  Enbridge is asking for permission to build a pipeline through Northern Minnesota that would bring tar sands oil from Alberta to Superior.  Currently, there is a Line 3 Pipeline that travels through the Leech Lake and Fond Du Lac Indian reservations.  Enbridge wants to abandon that pipeline in the ground and build a new pipeline in a different corridor.

This new Line 3 would bring 760,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil into Superior every day. That extra oil being brought into Superior would have to go somewhere, and the only practical solution for Enbridge would be another pipeline through the heart of Wisconsin.

SmallerOil In; Oil Out

Though construction of the Canadian portion of the pipeline has begun, and the small Wisconsin portion has been completed, the process to permit the pipeline in Minnesota has been long and isn’t over yet.  It has included over 1,000 pages of briefs, 17 intervenors, dozens of hearings and public input sessions, and tens of thousands of comments.  Five Ojibwe bands in Minnesota also released their own Cultural Impact Assessment that reflects their concerns and the potential impacts.  This case has had some unprecedented elements, including the inclusion of 13 youth climate intervenors and the Department of Commerce ruling that the pipeline is not needed.

WHERE WE ARE:
The Minnesota process began in 2014, and is nearing its end.  We’re in the final stages.  Yesterday, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) gave her recommendation based on all of the information that has been presented in the process.

There were two overarching questions in the docket: 1.) Should Enbridge be allowed to build the pipeline, which the process refers to as “need,” and if so, 2.) where should they be allowed to build it.

The Judge recommended that Enbridge should be allowed to build the pipeline, as long as they build it in the existing route. 

There are a number of other notable pieces to the decision including:

  • The Judge affirmed the rights of the Tribes to determine whether they allow the pipeline to travel through their land, stating, “Just like the Commission cannot bind the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] or require the BIA to grant easements for a route, the Commission does not have the authority to require either Leech Lake or Fond du Lac to permit the replacement of Existing Line 3”.
  • The Judge recommended requiring clean-up insurance and securing a written commitment from Enbridge to be fully liable for catastrophic clean-up of the new Line 3, echoing the requirements that Dane County placed on Enbridge in 2015.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?:
All parties to the case will have an opportunity to respond and then the Public Utilities Commission will make its final decision.  The Commission could:

-Confirm the ALJ’s recommendation to allow Enbridge to build the pipeline only in the current route.  All eyes remain on Minnesota: what will Enbridge do?  The Leech Lake Band has been explicit about the fact that they will not allow the pipeline to be rebuilt through their reservation. (The Leech Lake Band was one of 5 sovereign tribal nations that intervened in the process).  Will Enbridge appeal?  Will Enbridge propose a route around the reservation?

Deny Enbridge the ability to build the pipeline: Enbridge will likely appeal, but for the moment, we would breathe a sigh of relief.

-Give Enbridge permission to build the pipeline, in any route: we need to remain as vigilant as ever.  If Enbridge gets the green light, they will move even faster to try to push a pipeline through in Wisconsin.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Keep watching Minnesota.  The decision is expected in late June, but could come out as early as late May.  We’ll keep you updated with things as they arise.  In the meantime, we need to continue to protect ourselves from another pipeline by working together, calling on our local and state governments to enact protections against unfair eminent domain for private gain and the dangers of the pipeline.

Click here to learn about which group is in your community and how you can get involved.

 

530+350 = 0? According to Enbridge…

Enbridge regularly puts out an Investor Presentation to let their current and potential investors know what they are planning and working on.  For those trying to decipher what Enbridge’s plans are, it is also the best plan to learn what projects Enbridge sees in their future.  In June, Enbridge released an update of the Investor Report.

Enbridge’s investor report in 2015 was the first place we learned details about Enbridge’s plan to build a Line 61-twin or Line 66.  Information about the project continued to appear in their Investor’s Reports until March of this year, days before students held a March Against Pipelines and landowners were meeting to discuss ways they can protect themselves from unfair negotiations with Enbridge.  Enbridge removed the slide from the presentation and claimed they were no longer planning to build the pipeline.

So that’s it?  There’s no pipeline, right?

The Line 61-twin would be just the middle piece that helps connect the oil being brought into the United States to other pipelines that carry it south.  The pipelines operate like part of a machine or series of gears.  If you just take away one piece of the machine or one gear, you end up with too much oil in one place and the machine does not work.  Enbridge’s system moves oil from Canada into Superior through Northern Minnesota. From there, the oil flows out of Superior through Line 5 and the Line 61 corridor—the pipelines then connect to other pipelines.  If more oil comes into Superior, there needs to be another pipeline to carry that oil out of Superior.  Therefore, we can look at Enbridge’s plans ‘upstream’ to figure out what will be needed ‘downstream’ of Superior.

Let’s do the math:

Slide 11 discusses the Line 3 Replacement.   Though Enbridge calls it the ‘Line 3 Replacement’ and implies a simple replacement of the current pipeline, it will actually be a different, larger pipeline that will almost double the amount of oil the pipeline carries, starting at an annual capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd).  Enbridge has stated it plans to eventually have the pipeline run at an annual capacity of 915,000 bpd.   That means an additional 535,000 bpd coming.  Additionally, Slide 12 mentions a couple of other upgrades to existing pipelines that will lead to an additional 350,000 bpd of oil, totaling an additional 880k bpd coming into Superior.

SmallerOil In; Oil Out

What will happen to that oil?  It can’t be left in Superior, that oil has to go somewhere.  They may have deleted the slide that talks about the pipeline, but you can’t delete the basic arithmetic.

So when is it coming?  Right now, Enbridge is constructing Line 3 in Canada and Wisconsin but has a long permitting process in Minnesota.  The slide that talks about Line 3 Replacement states a goal of having it online by 2019.  They will need to have a pipeline that moves that oil out of Superior online by then as well.  Just like you don’t install air conditioning not to use it, you don’t invest billions in system expansion if you don’t intend to use it.

The real question is: if Enbridge is going to need to build another pipeline, why are they keeping landowners, County Boards, and the communities that are impacted in the dark?  Why wouldn’t the landowners (that they refer to as family) be some of the first to know?

5th Annual Love Water, Not Oil Spiritual Horseback Ride

Native-led organization, Honor the Earth, kicked off its fifth annual Love Water Not Oil Spiritual Horseback Ride in Wisconsin.  The 40 or so riders kicked off the tour with a benefit concert in Madison on July 9.  The following day, they began the ride in Nekoosa and traveled North along the pipeline.  After stopping for another benefit concert in Madeleine Island, they went on to travel the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement route in Minnesota.  The tour raised awareness and resistance about the proposed expansion of Enbridge pipelines in Minnesota (Line 3 Replacement) and Wisconsin (Line 61-Twin or Line 66) and the impacts it could have in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as the treaty rights that are being undermined.  Read more about Honor the Earth, the tour, and the Line 3 Replacement here.

Wisconsin welcomed the out-of-state travelers (though some were from Wisconsin). Read on about the different events held to greet them during their time in Wisconsin.

Love Water, Not Oil Benefit Concert featuring Nahko Bear in Madison
The kick-off event began with a press conference outside the Majestic Theater in downtown Madison where Honor the Earth co-founder Winona LaDuke spoke of her experiences resisting pipelines and her hopes of stopping Enbridge. Bill Greendeer of the Ho-Chunk Tribe, Rebecca Kemble from Madison’s City Council, Peter Anderson of 350-Madison, and Elizabeth Ward from the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter also spoke.

Following the press conference was a sold-out benefit concert featuring Gingger Shankar, Annie Humphrey, Maria Isa, and Nahko. All the funds raised from this concert and the rest of the tour go directly to Honor the Earth to help fund the fight against Enbridge’s expansion.

While the Majestic Theatre hosts sold-out events on nearly a weekly basis, this event carried a different energy. Every artist sang songs of resistance with personal stories and words of enlightenment woven within as the crowd united to stand in solidarity, and of course enjoy the music. Winona LaDuke spoke to the crowd again before headlining artist Nahko took the stage. The crowd erupted in support and raised their fists as she assured everyone, “It is possible to stop a pipeline,” recalling the success of stopping the Sandpiper and showing optimism of stopping the next pipeline.

Nahko

 

Potluck in Marshfield
The Green Team of the First Presbyterian Church hosted the riders for dinner at their church.  Exhausted and very hot from the first day of the ride, the riders enjoyed a potluck meal filled with salads and desserts and catered in pulled pork, rice, and beans by Jamaican Kitchen.  Barb Gillespie, founder, and co-leader of the Green Team, welcomed the group and one of the riders said a prayer.  While eating, Kristi Huebschen spoke about the Green Team and how excited they were to have the group.  Then two landowners, Margy Hansen and Keith Merkel, spoke about their experiences with Enbridge and why they are concerned about the new proposed pipeline.

Winona La Duke stood up. Before speaking, the crowd heard from six or seven of the different groups that had joined the ride, many from as far as South Dakota.  Then Winona spoke about her dream that told her to ride against the pipeline. The battles they have fought (and won!) against the Sandpiper Pipeline in Minnesota, and how they plan to win again and stop the Line 3 Replacement.  She also talked about the importance of transitioning off of fossil fuels and the number of jobs that can be created as we do that.

The Green Team was grateful to First Presbyterian Church members and attendees, as together we live out our mission statement and Centering Song – “God welcomes all, strangers and friends, God’s love is strong and it never ends”

Potluck in Gilman, WI

Sixty people gathered on the evening of July 11th in the Gilman Park shelter as part of a horseback ride up the Line 61 corridor through Wisconsin.  The Tri-County chapter of Wisconsin Safe Energy Alliance hosted a dinner for the riders with Honor the Earth, a national indigenous group opposed to tar sands pipelines throughout the Midwest.  Winona LaDuke, co-founder of Honor the Earth and member of the White Earth band of Minnesota, was accompanied by 26 other tribal riders from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as part of the Fifth Annual “Love Water Not Oil” tour.

The horses were happily munching through a tall grass field at a local WiSE member’s farm, while children played with the barn cats.  Back at the park, attendees enjoyed a huge array of delicious food prepared and donated by WiSE supporters in Madison (including huge thanks to Healthy Food for All in Dane County), as well as Taylor, Clark, and Marathon counties.  Several riders explained that their experiences fighting their own pipelines were the reason they were riding in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin who face a dangerous tar sands Line 66.

At the end of the meal and speeches, volunteers packed up leftover foods for the riders’ breakfast and lunch.

 

Ladysmith
A dozen or so residents welcomed the riders as they arrived in Ladysmith.  Honor the Earth Chair Paul DeMain videotaped and live streamed interviews from various riders, beginning with Winona La Duke and ending with Bill Greendeer.  Bill noted that in his walking the pipeline last year that most of the people he spoke with were scared of what was or would happen to their land, especially if there was a leak or spill.  But they were afraid to speak up.  He encourages people to not be afraid.  He said, “What do we do if we have a little land, maybe only an acre?  We take care of it.  That’s what we need to do all together we all need to take care of the earth.”

 

Hayward
That evening, the riders arrived in Hayward for a meal of spaghetti and side dishes and desserts provided by members of the community.  Lee Balek hosted the event.  The next night, the group stayed for a pow wow and venison stew.

Madeleine Island:
The group then went on to Madeleine Island for a concert at Tom’s Burned Down Café.

 

 

5th Annual Love Water Not Oil Tour in Wisconsin: July 9-14

The fight against toxic tar sands pipelines continues, but our resistance keeps growing.

Honor the Earth, a Native-led organization, will kick off its 5th Annual Love Water Not Oil Spiritual Horseback Ride in Madison at the Majestic Theatre this Sunday, July 9th with a benefit concert featuring Nahko, Annie Humphrey, Gingger Shankar, and other special guests.

The annual tour has been expanded to include Wisconsin as well as Minnesota and to fight both the proposed expansion of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline as well as the suspected Line 61-Twin or Line 66, pipeline project. Both pipelines threaten the environment, property rights, and the treaties that were established in the 1800’s.  Activists will ride horses along the pipeline route, against the flow of oil, connecting to the land and each other while building power and resistance at concerts, potlucks, conferences, and ceremonies.

Please join us at some point on the tour!  As you can imagine, riding horses through the State of Wisconsin works up an appetite!  Click here to volunteer to help cook food or support one of the events!

Poster-Madison_Concert_-_WEBSITE_BANNER

Tour Schedule:
July 9th – Madison, WI
Majestic Theatre, King Street, Madison
Doors @ 6:00 PM, show @ 7:00 PM
Kick-off event/benefit concert featuring Nahko, Annie Humphrey, and Gingger Shankar
Purchase tickets online ($25) or buy at the Majestic box office day of ($30)
There will be a press conference at 5:00 to kick-off the tour. Please join us!  It will be right outside of the Majestic Theater.

July 10th – Nekoosa, WI
Nekoosa Mounds
10:00 AM kick-off ceremony, beginning of ride

July 10- Marshfield, WI
The Green Team of the First Presbyterian Church in Marshfield will host the riders for dinner. This event is closed to the public.

July 11-Potluck in Gilman, WI–Gilman Village Park hosted by Tri-County WiSE
Riders are anticipated to arrive between 7 and 7:30 and will then be served food.  A short program with speakers will begin around 7:45.  
July 13th – Hayward, WI
Lac Courte Oreilles Pow Wow Grounds
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Presentation by Honor the Earth with featured speaker Winona LaDuke and a short performance by Nahko, Annie Humphrey, and/or Gingger Shankar.

July 14th – Madeline Island, WI
Tom’s Burned Down Cafe
Doors @ 6:00 PM, show @ 7:00 PM
Concert featuring Nahko, Annie Humphrey, and Gingger Shankar
Purchase tickets online ($25) or buy at the door day of ($30)

July 16th – Duluth, MN
Bayfront Festival Park
Doors @ 2:00 PM, show @ 3:00 PM
Concert featuring Nahko, Annie Humphrey, Gingger Shankar, Corey Medina, Maria Isa, and special guests.
Purchase tickets online ($25) or buy at the door day of ($30)

July 17th- Duluth, MN
Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Mural unveiling ceremony featuring artist Votan of NRSGNTS.
Details still pending, please save the date.
$10 suggested donation

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.

 

Conservation Congress Results Show Wisconsinites Oppose the Pipeline

The Conservation Congress votes were tallied and show that Wisconsin conservationists oppose Enbridge’s plans to build a new tar sands pipeline in the ‘Line 61 corridor’.  Enbridge has been taking steps to building a new pipeline through Wisconsin.  Question 72 read “Do you support the Wisconsin Conservation Congress taking an official position to oppose the Enbridge Pipeline expansion?”

“I decided to write up the resolution because I think the issues created by the pipeline (both environmental and landowner rights issues) should be important to all citizens of Wisconsin, not just the landowners where the pipes are buried,” said Kevin Stoddard, a landowner in Rio (Columbia County) who introduced the resolution last year, allowing it to be on the state-wide ballot this year.  He also serves on the Columbia County WiSE steering committee.

The statewide results showed that 75% of Spring Hearing attendees voted in support of the question, including 67 of the 72 (or 93%) counties voting to oppose the pipeline.

Of the counties that currently have Enbridge pipelines, 80.7% of the audience supported the resolution to oppose the expansion, including 17 of the 19 (89.5%) counties voting in favor.  Here is the county by county breakdown:

Adams 18/22 82% Douglas 14/38 37% Rusk 15/22 68%
Ashland* 65/80 81% Iron* 16/21 76% Sawyer 54/75 72%
Bayfield* 53/63 84% Jefferson 44/58 76% Taylor 1/11 9%
Chippewa 31/53 58% Marathon 48/66 72% Walworth 69/90 77%
Clark 24/32 75% Marquette 26/33 79% Washburn 36/41 88%
Columbia 47/52 90% Rock 62/71 82% Wood 44/59 75%
Dane 371 92% *on the Line 5 corridor

Total:

1038/1292 80%

Polk County, one of the 5 counties that did not support the question, did vote in favor of holding public hearings and conducting a full Environmental Impact Statement of Enbridge’s Line 61 pipeline.  The same resolution passed in the other two counties (Vernon and Wood) that introduced it as well.

Additionally, in Milwaukee County 86% of attendees supported a resolution to require pipelines be at least 5 miles from a lake or river bank.

Full results can be found here.