Landowners Share their Story on Lobby Day

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.”
Kulp Convo

Landowners meet with Representative Kulp (R-Stratford)

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!

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.

Enbridge Isn’t Having a Good Year

8 Weeks in: Enbridge Spills are Popping up all over the news

The New Year isn’t off to a good start for Enbridge.  The news is filled pipeline spills and other concerns.  Unfortunately, Enbridge pipelines are a steady part of these stories.

Since January 1, a pipeline jointly owned by Enbridge spilled over 15,000 barrels of crude oil in Texas allegedly due to a Department of Transportation subcontractor drove a bulldozer into the pipeline,  over 15,000 gallons of light oil spilled in Missouri is still being cleaned up a month later,  over 50,000 gallons of crude oil leaked in Saskatchewan from a pipeline that was purchased from Enbridge last year, and 200,000 liters of oil condensate spilled from Line 2 (one of the pipelines that brings oil into Superior) in Alberta.


Enbridge in the News around Wisconsin

The media coverage continues as well.  In mid- January, the Journal Sentinel released an in-depth, five-part series on Enbridge’s pipeline system.  A daily update was printed for a week, and the whole thing is published online here.  The series was printed in many newspapers around the state.

Kevin Stoddard, landowner in Columbia County, spoke in front of a County Board meeting, sparking this in-depth, local look in the Portage Daily Register.

People across Wisconsin have also been submitting letters-to-the-editor, appearing in the Journal Sentinel, Janesville Gazette, and CapTimes.

Contact us if you want help submitting your own letter-to-the-editor!