Virginia Kirsch (left) of Middle Wisconsin with Mark Borchardt and his wife Gwen Stone (right) of 80 Feet is Enough

Virginia Kirsch (left) of Middle Wisconsin with Mark Borchardt and his wife Gwen Stone (right) of 80 Feet is Enough at the Botsfords’ legal defense fundraiser on September 4, 2016

By Virginia Kirsch

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Borchardt and his wife Gwen Stone from Marshfield. Mark told me about his experiences with Enbridge, the Canadian corporation that builds pipelines to move oil. When he and his wife bought their house 24 years ago, they realized there was one pipeline under their driveway, but they were not bothered by that.

In 2007 -2008 Enbridge added Line 61 which daily moves 1.2 million barrels of crude oil from Superior down to Janesville. In 2014 Enbridge surveyed the entire swath of pipeline land 300 miles through Wisconsin in preparation for expanding their operations. A pumping station is being built. Plans are made for a Twin Pipeline to triple the volume of oil sent through the pipeline.

In 2015 the Wisconsin Legislative Joint Finance committee through the Motion 999 process changed Eminent Domain to allow Enbridge to take private land. This essentially takes away the citizen’s right to private property.

Enbridge wants to increase its 80 feet swath of land to 200 feet. Under current Wisconsin law, Enbridge could take over that land, but the taxpayer continues to pay taxes on it.

Over the years, both Democrats and Republicans have used Eminent Domain to take over private property.

In the fall of 2015 Mark said Enough is Enough and 80 Feet is Enough was born. The organization includes Republicans and Democrats, young people and retired, and environmentalists as well as non-environmentalist. You can visit them on Facebook or their website www.80feetisenough.org The website offers much information of the current actions of Enbridge as well as their history.

80 Feet is Enough focuses on property rights and value and safety. The abuse of Eminent Domain infringes on the rights guaranteed by the 5th Amendment, the right to private property.

When pipelines run through your property, your value decreases. Safety becomes an issue when there is an oil spill. The oil flowing through these pipelines is very dirty and should stay underground. In an oil spill, the oil sinks to the bottom of the river or lake and is impossible to clean up. One-fourth of the Wisconsin economy is tourism. Without clean water in our lakes and rivers, we lose tourists.

In 2012, 50,000 gallons of tar sand oil with solvent was spilled by Enbridge in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin (Adams County). Dangerous levels of benzene were found in the air.

Enbridge realizes that the Age of Oil is over. Solar and wind power are the sustainable sources of energy that are less expensive than oil and provide more jobs than oil. However, oil companies want to quickly get this oil from Canada out to the world market. Greed knows no boundaries.

Many people in Wisconsin are realizing the loss of local control and the loss of private property through the actions of the Wisconsin legislation and Enbridge Corporation. Many people are uniting to regain local control over property. One person cannot fight this large corporation, but together, many things are possible.

Visit www.80feetisenough.org