In the spirit of celebrate all our victories, even non-huge ones, let me share with you some things, pardon for getting down in the weeds a bit for those not familiar with the details:
As many of you know, Enbridge was offered a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in April this year for building a new pump station in Dane County, which included that they purchase Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance, ordered by the Zoning and Land Regulation Cmte (ZLR). That was a real coup, and there have been rumblings of this victory encouraging folks elsewhere to demand the same thing.
However, after indicating they would appeal to the County Board, Enbridge then turned around and lobbied to sneak an 11th hour bill into the WI budget, preventing the county from requiring insurance of pipeline companies, other than the (inadequate) insurance they already have. !@#$%
As many of you may remember also, threats have arisen from the Legislature that they would retaliate if ZLR tried to enforce other monetary assurances that were not specifically outlawed by the new legislation. This would mean stripping counties further of other important zoning powers, which has worked against ZLR members being able to do as much as they would like. again, !@#$%
In further skulduggery July 24, Enbridge was given an illegal permit for the pump station (illegal in that it was provided by a zoning dept administrator, not only without zoning committee members’ signatures, but without their KNOWLEDGE for about six weeks! This is despite that any CUP must be approved by the Zoning Committee members. again, !@#$%
ZLR members were not happy when they found out!
So, what we have worked on now is to encourage ZLR members vote down the unlawfully issued July 24 permit.
Last night, we were successful!!
ZLR voted unanimously to declare null and void the July 24 illegally signed permit, and elicited from the administrator that this was the case.
They instead said that the original CUP would stand (although, due to the Republican legislature, the insurance piece cannot be enforced by the county).
But, remember, in the meantime, these good things have happened over the last 15 months: ☺
Enbridge could not beat our testimony and turn-out at any point, with a turnout at one point of 132 of our folks
Enbridge did agree to release the composition of the toxic mix of diluents which are mixed with tar sands to allow flow. These had heretofore been held as “proprietary” but now we have that info, it was posted on the County Board website, and we have shared with others
Enbridge could not win with the ZLR, which voted unanimously to require EIL insurance, a vote nicely locked in by a post-Chernobyl insurance expert recommended by Peter, hired by the County, and paid for by Enbridge.
It appears that Enbridge was afraid to face the County Board, but not afraid to shell out for lobbyists
Enbridge did not do well in the publicity area, with a New York Times opinion piece, a story in the Pulitzer prize winning online journal, Inside Climate News, many other published stories, and a fine combative one-on-one between Peter Anderson and Mark Maki, President of Enbridge Energy Company, on Channel 27.
We were asked by the Patagonia foundation to apply for a grant, and with leadership from Laura, Cathy Loeb and others, we were successful and have already sent in another grant. Carl Whiting is the project leader on the project, Drawing a Line in the Tar Sands, and is busy working with landowners along line 61
Enbridge was ready to start digging for the pump station upgrade in mid-June 2014 but is only now digging. This means (caveat, my arithmetic here) that ~263 million barrels (11 billion gallons) of tar sands that would have been pumped through Wisconsin were not. At a loss of $2.49 per barrel transported, that is a loss of $0.65 billion dollars to Enbridge, not counting attorney’s fees nor lobbyist fees.
Finally, this was all a dress rehearsal for another line that will run alongside line 61, something that Enbridge denies they are considering, although it appears in their material for investors, as a “line 61 twin” (we and many others call it Line 66), and we are getting ready for this fight.
And, even last night, Enbridge had to pay big bucks to have their fancy lawyer be there to eat a little crow as his phony permit got filleted! 😀
Thank you all for your support of all the facets of 350 Madison