You may have noticed in the last couple of days that Enbridge executives have been very chatty– with some newspaper editorial boards: first, the Lansing State Journal and then the Livingston Press & Daily Argus. This is a very curious turn of events and we’re curious to know how these meetings came about. We suspect that Enbridge initiated them as a kind of extension of the PR campaign they launched with those bizarre Free Press ads (we know that we still owe you all an analysis of the last one; it’s coming…). And, as Katy pointed out in a comment a couple of days ago, we also suspect that it’s because Wuori and Hodge were in town to bend the ear of the governor as he prepared to announce his new energy plan.

Whatever the case, we find ourselves pretty appalled by the things Wuori and Hodge have been saying– even though it’s mostly stuff we’ve heard before. Hodge, for instance, continues to find ways to dismiss legitimate landowner concerns, portraying those who have spoken out as an impossible-to-please tiny fringe element. Aside from the fact that this is yet another example of Enbridge’s unwillingness to take landowner concerns seriously, we crunched some numbers yesterday (unscientifically, we admit) that suggest the number of disaffected landowners is far greater than Hodge would have you believe.

Yet he persists. This is what he told that Daily Press & Argus this week:

Hodge said the majority of landowners in the project area have not complained about the project, but some living within feet of pipeline easement have had to contend with large machinery nearby their homes.

“There is a small minority that I think you hear the most from in the press and on the radio, and they’re making the loudest noise about the way they’ve been treated. Most of those, I believe, are residents who are affected most adversely by this project,” Hodge said.

It is probably true that “the majority of landowners have not complained.” But that’s hardly the point. Is that what matters to Enbridge? A simple majority? Is their goal to reach amicable agreements with 51 percent of landowners? In fact, what is their goal? Do they consider it a successful project if they only alienate one-quarter of landowners?

Furthermore, what is the point of Hodge’s statement that the “small minority” “making the loudest noise” are “residents… affected most adversely by this project”? Wouldn’t you think that those affected most adversely would be the people Enbridge would work hardest to treat fairly– just out of simple decency? Yet Hodge seems to think of them as little more than wartime casualties. We also can’t help but add that we are certain that we are NOT among those most adversely affected by this project, even though we are among those making the loudest noise. So Hodge’s statement is not even true. He would know that if he ever bothered to actually talk with some of us.

As frustrating as Hodge’s remarks are, however, they may well be outdone by the astonishing things his boss Stephen Wuori has to say. We’ll make those remarks the topic of a separate post– because shedding light on them is going to take some serious doing.