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Affordable, reliable energy on the line

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — A diverse coalition of union workers, farmers, small business owners and forest products companies has led an outpouring of support for a pipeline project in northern Wisconsin.

But the Wisconsin Jobs and Energy Coalition and other supporters of Canada-based Enbridge Inc.’s proposed relocation of a portion of its Line 5 crude oil pipeline are going up against a governor and an administration in bed with environmental extremists.

A state legislative committee last week heard from supporters and opponents of the proposed plan to construct approximately 40 miles of a new 30-inch diameter pipeline. The project would relocate the portion of the 645-mile pipeline that carries 540,000 barrels of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil, and natural gas liquids between Canada and the United States.

Enbridge plans to relocate the pipeline in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron Counties outside the tribal lands of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The tribe sued Enbridge in 2019 demanding the pipeline be removed from its land. The company also proposes abandoning approximately 20 miles of its existing 30-inch-diameter Line 5 pipeline, including the section that currently crosses the Bad River Reservation.

The estimated $450 million project would support more than 1,000 jobs in Wisconsin, the majority of those in the economically struggling north, according to an analysis. Its economic impact to the state could hit $135 million, increasing state revenue by $6.4 million and federal tax collections by $78 million.

As of last week, supporters had submitted nearly 4,000 comments asking the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to move the project forward, according to the Wisconsin Jobs and Energy Coalition. Some of Gov. Tony Evers most reliable allies spoke in favor during last week’s marathon public hearing.

“Wisconsin’s workers and families are speaking loud and clear that they support the Line 5 relocation project because it will lead to hundreds of union jobs, millions in additional tax revenue for our communities and access to the gas, diesel and propane that Wisconsinites depend on to get to work and heat their homes,” said John Schmitt, President and Business Manager of the Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council.

But the usual suspects on the environmental left packed the hearing, Mike Wiggins, chairman of the Bad River Band, said the nearly 70-year-old pipeline should be shut down.

“It’s ready to fail, it is failing. It’s time for Line 5 to go,” Wiggins said.

Energy experts disagree. Line 5 has been operating through northern Wisconsin since 1953.

The loss of the critical pipeline would be detrimental to America’s economy and energy needs.

“This is about security. Job security, economic security, and national security for all Americans, including Wisconsinites,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua). His 7th Congressional District relies on the propane the pipeline carries.

“This pipeline is crucial to ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to reliable, affordable energy. Propane is carried through this line, and we need to make sure that we have access to it,” Tiffany said.

Midwest industries and residential customers already are dealing with significant spikes in energy prices this heating season.

Enbridge asserts taking Line 5 out of service would result in the loss of the energy equivalent of:

  • Enough gas to fill 1 million passenger cars and light-duty vehicles per day.
  • Enough jet fuel to move 883 commercial planes per day.
  • Enough diesel to fill up 6,000 freight- carrying semi-trucks per day.
  • Enough propane to heat 240,000 homes with about 1,100 square feet of living space each.

“Farmers depend on reliable sources of energy to operate their equipment, harvest their crops, care for their livestock, and heat their homes and farms,” said Keith Ripp, executive director of Governmental Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “Removing Line 5 from operation would send waves through our regional propane and fuel supply, undoubtably leading to shortages and price increases farmers simply can’t afford.”

As Empower Wisconsin has reported, liberal Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office lobbied Evers to sign on to a lawsuit aiming to shut down the pipeline.

An email from Mark Totten, Whitmer’s chief legal counsel, sent on Feb. 26, 2021 to Evers’ top legal adviser Ryan Nilsestuen, alludes to a previous meeting between the two liberal governors.

“Hope you’re well! I know Governor Whitmer had a brief call yesterday with Governor Evers regarding a request for support of an amicus brief. I wanted to see if we could find 10 minutes today or early next week to discuss by phone,” Totten wrote in the email, with the subject line, “Amicus brief Michigan case.”

Evers has tried to force his extreme climate change agenda on Wisconsin, using agencies like the Department of Natural Resources to do so. And the governor said nothing when President Joe Biden signed an executive order killing the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that would have transported up to 830,000 barrels per day and created more than 10,000 jobs. Biden’s gift to the climate change alarmists who backed him is now factoring into gas prices recently hitting seven-year highs.

“Wisconsin’s papermakers and forest products companies couldn’t survive without access to reliable and affordable energy,” said Scott Suder, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council. “Pipelines like Line 5 not only safely and reliably move energy to where it’s needed, they free up capacity for trucks and trains to move other goods like paper products.”

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4 thoughts on “Affordable, reliable energy on the line

  • As you look around most things you see have been on a truck at some time. Cars probably transported the food and clothes from the retailer the your home. The raw materials used in the manufacture of goods we use ever day. Fuel to heat your home, run your personal vehicle (even your electric vehicle), generate the electricity that light up your life comes from fossil fuels. Solar and wind are sexy supplements , but that’s all they are – SUPPLEMENTS!
    This is all driving the increased cost of goods and services! INFLATION

  • Harry said: As a trial run. Shut down the fuel line to the Indian Casinos in the counties mentioned. Ever heard of shooting yourself in the foot?

    Dave replies: With a bow and arrow…

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