Stop Pipeline Expansion in Wisconsin
Why 80 Feet?
Eighty feet wide and 300 miles long, running the length of Wisconsin through neighborhoods, businesses, farmsteads, forests, rivers, that is the swath of Wisconsin land controlled by Enbridge Energy Partners. Beneath that 80 foot swath are three pipelines carrying more than 2 million barrels of oil per day and one pipeline carrying diluent pumped northward to extract oil from Canada's tar sands. Now Enbridge wants more.
Pipeline Expansion Plans
In 2014 Enbridge contractors surveyed land alongside the entire pipeline route through Wisconsin in preparation for future expansion. In the summer of 2015 the Wisconsin legislature's Joint Finance Committee, through the obscure Motion 999 process, changed Wisconsin's eminent domain law to allow Enbridge to take private land through condemnations. In late 2015 Enbridge announced to its investors plans to expand their pipeline system through Wisconsin.
Two pipeline expansions are planned, one is underway. Pump stations are currently being added to Line 61, constructed in 2009, to increase oil flow to 1.2 million barrels from 400,000 barrels a day. The second expansion, the reason for the 2014 land survey and announcement to investors, requires more land to add more pipelines beyond the current 80 foot easement.
It's About Property Rights, Property Value, Property Safety
Many landowners are unwilling to give up more land to Enbridge. The threat of eminent domain executed by the state on behalf of Enbridge's private gain infringes on landowners' 5th amendment rights ("...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.") Placing more pipelines, clearing woodlands, removing buildings, and limiting future development near pipeline routes diminishes property values. Pipeline leaks, which happen frequently and sometimes catastrophically, place the risk of loss of life and property squarely on the landowner. And all the while landowners continue to pay taxes on that 80 foot swath of land.
Acting alone, the tide of Enbridge's financial, government, and courtroom advantages cannot be stemmed. However, the tide is changing in Wisconsin. Citizens are recognizing the Enbridge pipeline expansion is a fight worth fighting to regain representative government, restore the balance of power to local governments, and respect every citizen's rights. Power comes from joining together. Together we can say and be heard, "80 Feet Is Enough!"
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Photo Credit: Wisconsin State Journal