Al Monaco, Comedian

Nov 3, 2014 by

Corporate executives say the darnedest things! This week, Enbridge CEO Al Monaco got to have a little sit-down to talk with the Duluth News Tribune–reminding us of the time Enbridge President Steve Wuori got to have a sit down with the Ed. Board at the Lansing State Journal— and causing us to wonder anew why these executives get a special audience with these papers. Why doesn’t the Duluth News Tribune invite, say,  Richard Smith from the Friends of the Headwaters in for some of that friendly shoulder-rubbing? In the interview, Monaco says some pretty hilarious things (the paper calls them “insights”), none more hilarious than his comments about environmentalists: Misperception we’re “fighting environmentalists” “I think maybe there’s a perception that we’re fighting environmentalists. My approach to this has always been, ‘Let us work with you....

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“Life Amongst the Tar Sands” (Video)

Apr 14, 2014 by

As some of you know, we were fortunate enough to participate in a forum about tar sands oil development in the Great Lakes Region a couple of weeks ago. Organized by our friend, fellow Line 6B landowner, and Notre Dame University professor Patricia Maurice and hosted by the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values. Patricia and I were joined by MSU’s Steve Hamilton, who has been a consultant on the Kalamazoo River cleanup, and Beth Wallace, who you surely know by now. Each of us presented for 15 or so minutes and then we took questions from a wonderful and wonderfully-engaged audience. We thought the event was a smashing success. The room was full and the audience interested, each of my fellow panelists was smart, passionate, and informative. We were even...

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More on the Erosion of Your Property Rights

Jan 26, 2014 by

On Friday, we brought you the disturbing news of some new legislation introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives by Rick Outman. HB 5254 makes a very subtle and seemingly small change to Act 16, the Crude Oil and Petroleum Act, removing the word “landowner”and replacing it with “owner of agricultural property” from the section of the bill describing the rights of those whose property will be acquired through eminent domain. This, in our view, is a proposal that should trouble everyone. Whatever your view of the use of fracking or oil and gas development or state energy policy or climate change, it’s hard to imagine anyone– with the exception, it appears of Rick Outman and his compatriots in Congress– who thinks that pipeline companies should get to do whatever they want, without any...

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Breaking: Fracking’s Assault on Property Rights

Jan 24, 2014 by

In the midst of the property rights nightmare and landowner abuse that has been the Line 6B replacement, evidently the Michigan legislature has decided to make things even worse for Michigan property owners. Just yesterday, Representative Rick Outman introduced legislation that would further erode the already weak rights of property owners in the path of oil and gas pipelines. Bear with us while we explain: Remember Michigan Act 16 of 1929? We’ve talked about it a lot here over the past year or more. It’s the law that governs the transportation of crude oil or petroleum through the state of Michigan and grants carriers of those substances the power of eminent domain. It’s the law that our first land agent pulled out of his pocket the first day we met him– and that was...

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Pet coke developments

Aug 1, 2013 by

As we mentioned yesterday, we spent a couple of days early this week in Washington D.C., speaking with Michigan legislators and State Department officials. That trip, hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, will be the subject of our newest series– stay tuned for detailed accounts of the conversations we had. For now, we will note that when we met with representatives from the offices of Senators Stabenow and Levin and Representative Gary Peters, the subject of those piles of petroleum coke at that facility on the Detroit River inevitably came up– partly because the staffers wanted to use it as an opportunity to demonstrate what they’re doing to protect the citizens and the natural resources of Southeast Michigan. We’re glad for that– especially since, as you may have seen by now, the pet coke...

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About that petcoke

May 21, 2013 by

This morning, we’re a little irritated. Remember that story about those disturbing piles of petroleum coke, a byproduct of the dilbit refining process, that we reported on a couple of months ago? Well, the New York Times ran a piece by reporter Ian Austen on the story just this week– and it’s getting a lot of play. It’s all over the web and social media. And of course, we think this is a very good thing. In fact, the more attention this gets the better. The last thing we want is to have that gunk spilling into the Detroit River. And a national discussion about the costs of using this filthy byproduct– what one expert in the article calls “the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth”– is long overdue. So, three cheers...

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Restoration (illustrated)

May 19, 2013 by

A couple of weeks ago, we received a letter from our right of way agent announcing that he’s moving on to another job close to his home in Minnesota. As strange as it seems to say it, we’re actually sorry to see him go. The truth is that during the construction phase of the project, he was very responsive to us– far more so, from what we’ve heard from many other landowners, than most other land agents. We’ve been sort of lucky in this regard. In fact, this week we learned just how true that it. Our agent left us with a couple of new land agent contacts for the restoration phase. We called one of them to check on the status of restoration and because we wanted to ensure that our topsoil situation...

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A Tale of Dirt (illustrated!)

Mar 30, 2013 by

Long time readers of this blog know (we hope) that we have always tried very hard not to dwell on our personal situation, even though we do occasionally report on what’s happening around our property. But when we do, we generally do it to illustrate more general principles about the way Enbridge often carelessly and thoughtlessly (or callously) conducts its business. So it is with the story we have to tell today. First, just a little context. In the temporary workspace that Enbridge required on our property was a stand of over 100 trees (some of them were also within Enbridge’s existing easement) and our precious perennial garden, which we planned, dug, planted, and tended ourselves over a period of years. This is what it looked like the spring before Enbridge arrived:    ...

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