It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for 350 Madison and friends, gaining great momentum to stop the increased threats of tar sands pipelines through Wisconsin. If we keep this up, we may never sleep, but there certainly will NOT be more tar sands pipelines in Wisconsin!
Wisconsin Tar Sands Resistance Tour: Last week, Cassie Steiner (wasting no time on her first full-time week at the Sierra Club), Andy Pearson (MN350), and Cailie Kafura (UW–Stevens Point) kicked off Wisconsin’s campus tar sands tour. They traveled to seven campuses in five days (with some satellite watch parties), talking to hundreds of students and helping them come up with plans to defeat tar sands expansion. Along the way, they talked to those concerned about explosive oil trains and the common need to keep this dirty oil in the ground. Students gathered and discussed ways to raise the issue on campus, build and engage in larger events, and get their campus to stand up and fight! Read the full, amazing, inspiring story on the blog.
Sandpiper/Line 3 Replacement Comment Period: While Minnesota is embarking on a long, diligent process to study Enbridge’s Sandpiper and Line 3 replacement pipelines, Wisconsin is moving quickly to give the company the permits it needs for the 14 miles in the state. That didn’t stop us! We collected over 1,000 petitions from across Wisconsin opposing the pipelines. You can read the press release here. Huge thanks to Brian Dockstader for doing such an incredible online push and to Carl Whiting, Mary Beth Elliott, and Peter Anderson for their late night (11:57pm) review of our comments before the deadline.
Dane County Insurance Lawsuit: After our incredible work with Dane County to get an insurance requirement as a condition for one of the pumping stations needed to expand Enbridge’s Line 61, the legislature preempted the county from enforcing the requirement. Since the requirement was still in the permit, landowners near the pumping station sued to enforce the permit and force Enbridge to purchase insurance that would protect them from a spill. (You can learn more here.) Enbridge filed a motion to dismiss, and the hearing was held April 11. Judge Niess ruled that the case will move forward. The next hearing will be July 22, 2016. You can read the news story here. A shout-out to Peter Anderson for his amazing work and to Patricia Hammel for serving as local counsel.
Enbridge Tar Sands Invasion: On April 13, we kicked off our Line 61 “twin” fight with a terrific event in Madison. Many joined us to be inspired by Mark Borchardt, a landowner along the line, former Representative Spencer Black, and Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska. Carousel Bayrd, one of the champions from the Dane County Board, emceed the event. The event was sponsored by 350 Madison, the Sierra Club, the AE Havens Center, and the Madison Institute and supported by Brave Wisconsin, Madison Action for Mining Alternatives, the Save the Hills Alliance, the Wisconsin Environmental Health Network, and Citizens Climate Lobby. It wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated work of Mary Beth Elliott, Kate Schulte, Ronni Monroe, Cathy Loeb, Phyllis Hasbrouck, Ben Petersen, Carl Whiting, Harry Bennett, Cassie Steiner, Janette Rosenbaum, and dozens of others.
Landowner Meeting: Earlier on April 13, Jane Kleeb met with a handful of landowners and other leaders in Marshfield who are working to organize landowners throughout the state. Check out the great news clip here from the press event preceding the private meeting.
This was such a wonderful couple of weeks with everyone joining in, from Cassie, Andy, and Cailie giving up sleep to inspire across the state, to Peter writing briefs late at night, to Mary Beth working all hours of the night to make Jane’s visit a success, to Ronni doing last-minute radio efforts to raise the issue, to Carl making beautiful works of art that show the real threat we face, to countless others pitching in wherever they could. Of course, a HUGE thanks to Jane Kleeb for coming to Wisconsin—helping, leading, and creating the positive enthusiasm we need to win!
Elizabeth Ward is Conservation Programs Coordinator with the John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club.