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Other Views: Faced with resistance, Enbridge plays games

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Hannah Nowakowski
Saturday, March 11, 2017

The last thing we need is another oil pipeline. More than 200 activists, myself included, united on that belief in Whitewater on March 11 to make our voices heard in the march against pipeline expansion, opposing a proposed pipeline that would run through Wisconsin.

This new pipeline (tentatively called Line 66 or the Line 61-Twin) in combination with the existing Line 61 could carry over 2 million barrels of oil through Wisconsin, placing our health and environment at extreme risk and perpetuating our dangerous fossil fuel system.

We gathered to promote three simple demands: 1) a public commitment of Enbridge not to construct any new oil infrastructure in Wisconsin, 2) the decommission of Line 5, which runs through the Straits of Mackinac, as soon as possible and 3) improved pipeline management from Enbridge and eventual decommission of existing pipelines in order to transition to clean energy sources.

The passion that came out of Saturday's event left a significant impact on this fight and of course triggered a response from Enbridge. The company continues to say that there are no solidified plans to move forward with the project. It said that the information activists are using as evidence for the Line 66 plan is “very old” because it first appeared in 2015. The company fails to mention that the plan appeared as recently as January during an investment presentation, making our evidence for Line 66 as updated as possible.

This January presentation is the most recent clue, but there are many more. Enbridge has worked with the Legislature to change the eminent domain laws in Wisconsin, something Enbridge wouldn't do unless the company was planning to use these new laws in the future. Enbridge also began surveying property and contacting property owners along the pipeline route in preparation for permitting.

The most obvious proof that Line 66 is coming is Enbridge's Line 3 replacement and expansion project. If approved, it would increase the barrels of oil per day heading into Superior, and that oil would need to move south for it to be profitable for Enbridge. A slide in the investment presentation specifically states that the Line 61 project “relieves bottleneck” created by other expansions.

Despite the abundant up-to-date evidence that pipeline fighters are using to fuel their resistance, Enbridge continues to claim the project is not moving forward.

Enbridge is playing games with the residents of Wisconsin, landowners concerned about their homes and families and students, like me, who are concerned about our future. But this isn't a game; this is our future, our water and our livelihoods.

Enbridge needs to publicly and formally state they will never build this pipeline and cancel the Line 3 project that creates the “need” for this pipeline in the first place. If they won't do that, we will continue to make our voices and concerns heard like we did on Saturday.

Hannah Nowakowski is a member of the Wisconsin Youth Network in Madison.

 



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