People Over Pipelines coalition prepares for potential pipeline
About 100 people gathered in Marshfield Friday evening, to share stories and unite against what they say is a threat. The People Over Pipelines coalition is a group working to fight the Enbridge company over a potential new pipeline in Wisconsin.
Enbridge currently operates four pipelines, from a hub in Superior down through Rock and Walworth counties. But despite what the People Over Pipelines coalition thinks, Enbridge said there is not another pipeline coming to Wisconsin.
"Enbridge does not, does not have a new pipeline project in Wisconsin," said Scott Suder, Manager of State Government and Stakeholder Relations with Enbridge.
"Environmentalists, property rights advocates, land owners, tribal members. We're all coming together and we are following the dictum that you don't build an army after an invasion. We are getting ready now," said Mark Borchardt. Borchardt is the founder of 80 Feet is Enough!, one of the advocacy groups working to fight Enbridge.
He said the company is planning to add another pipeline, called Like 66, from Superior down the middle of Wisconsin.
"They like to say that they have to get these approvals and things, they don't need to do that. They can't even tell me what that approval process is," said Borchardt.
But Suder said another pipeline is not coming. There are certain steps the company would have to follow, and they have not been taking them.
"We've not requested or received state or federal permits, and we have informed stakeholders that we don't have a project and we have to inform them if any such projects were to occur," said Suder.
Enbridge even met with Borchardt and others last month in Nekoosa to discuss the issue. But Borchardt said the open meeting was inconclusive.
"A number of us went, and asked them the questions. And their answers are usually to be quiet or to deny things," said Borchardt.
Suder said there aren't even any future plans for a new line.
"No, we have no plans in the future for a new pipeline project in Wisconsin," Suder said.
But Borchardt is not so sure. He plans to continue to raise awareness and grow the People Over Pipelines coalition.
"We are getting ready for this expansion to happen, all signs point to that. And I say it's in their best interest to not deny it as much as possible. There are people from around the country that are here today, this opposition group is building tremendously. If they want it to stop, sign an affidavit. Take an oath: 'no pipeline coming,'" said Borchardt.
Here is the statement, in full, from Scott Suder with Enbridge:
It’s important that information that the public receives about Enbridge and its operations in Wisconsin be grounded in fact.
Enbridge does not have a new pipeline project in Wisconsin.
This fact has repeatedly been communicated to landowners and
elected officials and reiterated just a couple weeks ago to the
public and to members of 80 Feet is Enough who attended an
Enbridge-hosted community meeting in Nekoosa. We take pride
in the positive relationships we have with thousands of
Wisconsin landowners who have Enbridge pipelines on their
property -- a relationship built around integrity, safety and
Enbridge has operated in Wisconsin for nearly 70 years.
Hundreds of our employees and contractors in Wisconsin
dedicate themselves every day to the safe and reliable
transportation of crude oil in the state. Our pipelines meet all of
the refinery capacity in Wisconsin and most of the Midwest’s.
The oil we transport is used to produce products people rely on
in their daily lives – plastics, chemicals, asphalt, cosmetics, and
gasoline. We’ll continue to work with and engage landowners
and the public in an open and honest manner about our
operations in Wisconsin.