We mentioned this morning that we have quite a lot to say about Christopher Behnan’s Daily Press & Argus story this morning. If you missed part 1, discussing whether Enbridge is, in fact, “exempt” from the Howell Township ordinance, it’s here. On that question, we thought portions of the article seemed to present Enbridge’s point of view as fact, rather than as arguable claims.
Nevertheless, the article does contain some very interesting new information, perhaps even a couple of minor bombshells. One of them is the topic of our second post: (more…)
If you haven’t seen it yet, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus has (finally, at long last!) published an article about the Howell Township ordinance, which we’ve been mentioning for weeks. We have so much to say about it, we’re going to address it in multiple posts.
We’ll start with the headline, which, unfortunately, appears to have been written by Enbridge lawyers: (more…)
We have a LOT to say about Christopher Behnan’s article this morning about Enbridge and the Howell Township ordinance. It is deeply disturbing, even more disturbing (if you can believe it) than Behnan’s article yesterday about Enbridge’s cozy arrangement with the Livingston County sheriff’s department. There is a follow-up to that article this morning.
We’ve been getting reports that Enbridge plans to begin construction work in Brandon Township as early as next week. If anyone who lives in Brandon can confirm this for us, please do (just leave a comment or send me a message backchannel).
Why is this so important? Well, you will recall that Brandon Township recently passed a resolution requiring Enbridge to comply with certain conditions before beginning any construction work within the township limits (the full text of the resolution has been filed with the MPSC and can be seen here). The Township needs support to enforce its resolution. Please take some time to contact local media and, more importantly, state elected officials. Urge them to step forward and support local authority and autonomy.
26th District State Senator David Robertson can be reached at:
Phone: (517) 373-1636
Toll Free: (866) 305-2126
District 46 State Representative Brad Jacobsen can be reached at:
Toll Free: (855) 737-2723 [855 REPBRAD]
We suddenly realize we have yet to devote a full post to discussing dilbit, which everyone concerned about Enbridge and Line 6B should know about. We will try to make that a priority in the next week or so. In the meantime, there’s this.
Today, we return to our series on tales and lessons from the NTSB report on the Marshall spill (read Part 1 and Part 2). Those of you who have been with us for a while know that we’ve been reading it so you don’t have to. But we encourage everyone to read it. Frankly, we think it should be required reading, if not for all Michigan citizens, then at least for every public official in the state–and we know from conversations with them that more than a few of our elected officials have not read it. In fact, the report should probably be required reading for all Michigan schoolchildren. Perhaps we’ll start writing to the MDE…
Anyway, we’re thinking more today about the requirements listed in the Brandon Township resolution. Several of these items involve technical improvements in the pipeline, enhancements drawn from Enbridge’s statements about the standards they’ll use for their Canadian Northern Gateway project. These enhancements are undoubtedly a very good thing and we once again applaud the Brandon trustees for asking for similar standards here in the U.S. That being said, however, what the NTSB report teaches us is that when it comes to Enbridge, technology isn’t really the problem; humans are. Which leads us to the topic of this part of our series:
Part 3: Technology is not enough (more…)
It’s quiet here on the blog today. We’re taking a break to tend to some of our land on this beautiful, if hot, Michigan day. There will be less to tend soon enough, thanks to our friends at Enbridge. Here’s just some of what we’re losing.
We’ve just received a report about today’s MPSC hearing on phase two of the Enbridge project. The hearing before Administrative Law Judge Theresa Sheets today was to rule on two questions:
- The motion for order compelling discovery. We wrote about this one yesterday in our post welcoming Enbridge readers. At issue was whether Enbridge would have to answer certain questions, such as whether they had obtained appropriate local consents. As I said yesterday, Enbridge has argued that such questions are irrelevant to the MPSC proceedings; I also said that their argument was plausible, given the weakness of the MPSC from a regulatory standpoint. Well, sure enough, the Judge denied the motion, which means that Enbridge does not have to answer the question of consent in these proceedings. That’s not a huge surprise– but it is all the more reason to contact your state elected officials to demand legislation that puts in place sue real regulation in Michigan.We look forward to reading and commenting on the transcript of this hearing when it becomes available in the next few days. Stay tuned.
- The second issue was whether to allow “delayed intervenors.” These are affected landowners who missed the original deadline to intervene, but who nevertheless wanted to do so– and so filed late. Enbridge sought to deny their motion to intervene late. And they won. However, there are still plenty of intervenors whose testimony and experiences will still be considered. And all those delayed intervenors who can no longer be an official part of the MPSC proceedings? Well, they can just become part of the growing number of folks making noise in other ways.
More details on all of this as they become available.
We’re pleased to report that our friends in Indiana, led by Nicole Barker and the other hardworking folks at Save the Dunes, are making their voices heard as well and getting some press (and more).
We hope that some of the information here will be useful to them and we support their efforts in demanding transparency and forthrightness from Enbridge.
More from Jack Lessenberry (we admired him long before this Enbridge business!), who tells a bit of our story in his column this week. A small taste:
. . . when we learned that Enbridge refuses to pay fair replacement value for trees and plants, we got mad. The fact that we had to fight just to get a portion of the appraised replacement value was frustrating and demoralizing.
Versions of this article will be syndicated across the state and region; we’ll post links as they appear.
[Here is another request from the dedicated folks at POLAR. If you are able, please consider supporting their efforts.]
“POLAR had its weekly Board meeting today and we discussed our recent victories and our next steps to keep our momentum going. There are 4 fronts that require significant resources to turn our recent victories into permanent outcomes.
These 4 Fronts are where the battle is currently focused. Gary Field and Bill Tomblin outlined the legal steps and challenges in detail on our conference call.
POLAR is appealing to everyone to help gather the resources needed to turn our “foot in the door” into permanent outcomes that will protect our environment, protect our property rights and to hold this Canadian company accountable to the Citizens of Michigan.
Please donate what you can and contact everyone you know who share these core values and ask them to support our efforts through a donation to POLAR. POLAR has already committed funding to these efforts and will continue to do so to the extent we are funded.
You may donate now through the POLAR Website or you may send check or money orders to:
C/O Jeffrey S. Theuer, Esq.
Loomis,Ewert,Parsley,Davis & Gotting, P.C.
124 West Allegan Street
Lansing, MI 48933
POLAR is fortunate to have the support of landowners and citizens who are concerned about companies that are seeking to take their land for purposes that may be harmful to the environment. You can do your part to help by making a donation today! Your support is greatly appreciated.”
Every blogger hopes to reach as wide an audience as possible and I suppose that I am no exception. And since this blog is yet a mere fledgling, I am especially grateful for every single reader who stops by. So it was exciting to learn, late yesterday, that we have readers (or at least one) from Enbridge. Of course, we can’t help wondering who: is it spokesman Joe Martucci? Attorney Michael Ashton? CEO Patrick Daniel? or, what’s far more likely, is it some diligent legal assistant from the law firm that represents Enbridge? How frequently does he or she drop by? Is he or a she a subscriber? (more…)
This Katy Bodenmiller is one great public advocate. Listen here.
This just in: we have documented confirmation that among the readers of this blog (and I assure you that there aren’t all that many) are attorneys from Enbridge.
Interesting news out of Canada. If only Michigan elected officials were as responsive to the facts of the NTSB report. A taste,
The U.S. declaration that Enbridge Inc. ran a river spill cleanup like “Keystone Kops” has cost it a small investor, and a measure of credibility, after Vancity Investment Management said the pipeline company no longer meets its criteria for socially responsible investments.
We’re still applauding and thinking about the resolution passed this week by the Brandon Township Board of Trustees. And we’ll likely be writing about it a lot in the coming days and weeks. Yesterday, we provided a brief outline of its conditions. Today, we’d like to consider just one of those conditions in a bit more detail; specifically, item 6 on their list of requirements, which insists upon:
A guarantee that once the original pipeline is deactivated it will not be used for any kind of petroleum, natural gas, propane or environmentally hazardous product in the future thereby doubling the amount of hazardous material running through Brandon Township (more…)
Earlier today, I wrote that the events of the past week had put some strong wind in our sails. The past few hours have brought even more good news:
First, the Detroit Free Press’s fine reporter Eric Lawrence has already written about the Brandon Township resolution— and Enbridge is now in a position to have to respond publicly.
Secondly, a Court of Appeals today denied Enbridge’s motion to dismiss the appeal of the MPSC approval of phase one of their project. That means that the appeal still has life and that Enbridge’s current construction work is being called into question.
More details as they develop.
Is it just us or has the momentum of the last week or so shifted in our direction? Consider:
The MPSC agreed to grant intervenors more time to gather and present information regarding Enbridge’s application for approval of phase two of their project. Our concerns about Enbridge’s Line 6B project have received national attention (and more and more and more). A judge in Livingston County issued an injunction to halt Enbridge’s work on a Howell landowner’s property. One of the most respected (if not the most respected) and thoughtful journalists in Michigan has written about local citizens’ and municipalities’ attempts to keep Enbridge from having its way entirely in Michigan. A candidate for national office has spoken out forcefully. And Brandon Township passed a bold resolution demanding Enbridge to comply with certain conditions before beginning their work.
And if that’s not enough, there is also an excellent op-ed on dilbit in this morning’s New York Times.
These are all good signs. There is wind in our sails. Let your local and state officials know; invite them to hop aboard.
As we reported in our post late last night, the Brandon Township Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution yesterday evening requiring certain conditions of Enbridge before the company can begin work within the township limits. Supervisor Kathy Thurman, Clerk Jeannie McCreery, Treasure Tyrone Beltramo, and Trustees Dana DePalma, David King, Tom Stowell, and Cheryl Gault deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their courage, their responsiveness to citizen concerns, and their bold and responsible stewardship of the public interest. They have stepped in where few other Michigan elected officials have dared. We are hopeful that other townships and municipalities will be emboldened by Brandon’s actions and begin taking their own steps. (more…)
Tonight, the Brandon Township Board of Trustees passed a resolution requiring Enbridge to adhere to certain safety standards (among other conditions) before beginning construction within township limits.
To date, these are the only elected officials in Michigan who have taken action or gone on record to protect the public interest in the matter of the Enbridge Line 6B “replacement” project. We admire their gumption.
Details and much more on this tomorrow.
His latest commentary, centered upon tonight’s Brandon resolution, is now up. Give it a listen.
A fantastic follow-up article in the Los Angeles Times by Matt Pearce, a smart reporter who clearly understands the situation here in Michigan and beyond. Pearce writes:
The next big oil pipeline battle is here [in SE Michigan], and hardly anybody knows about it.
And here’s a money quote from one of our very own local residents:
“It saddens me to say that all evidence points to us being better informed about this project than our elected officials,” [Katy] Bodenmiller said. “But that’s only because officials and the press, with a few exceptions, have failed to advocate for those they serve.”
Please share this article as widely as possible. Send copies of it to your elected representatives.
And now the story has made USA Today!
Excellent coverage with some details of the resolution on Enbridge that Brandon Township will consider at tonight’s meeting– from Eric Lawrence at the Free Press. A taste:
“I do find it interesting that they can assure that the pipeline project in Alberta is built and operated to the highest standards yet in the (United) States, we’re not necessarily assured those same standards will be met,” [Supervisor Kathy] Thurman said.
It’s been almost exactly one year since Enbridge filed its application with the Michigan Public Service Commission seeking approval for its Line 6B “replacement” project. And in that year, we’re not aware of a single elected official from Michigan at the state or national level who has made a single public statement on the matter– much less one who has taken a coherent position that reflects a concern for the important public issues at stake. (If someone knows of such statements, we’d love to hear them).
Because of this extraordinary silence, this leadership vacuum, we’ve spent a fair amount of time over the past few months contacting the officials elected to represent our interests in Michigan and Washington D.C. (And we would urge you to do the same!) We have been met with varying degrees of responsiveness– and we’re not afraid to name names: (more…)