New Non-Profit Starts with Goal of Stopping More Enbridge Acquisitions
By Mark Borchardt
All signs indicate Enbridge plans to take more property for expanding their easement and adding more oil pipelines.
Enbridge has: surveyed additional property along the entire pipeline route through Wisconsin,
convinced the state legislature to change Wisconsin eminent domain law in Enbridge’s favor,
announced to investors their plans for a new pipeline on new land next to Line 61 through Wisconsin.
If you are like me, you already live with four pipelines in an 80 foot wide swath through your property. When Enbridge takes more land, it means we can’t use that piece of property the way we want, our property values go down, our risks increase, and if there is a pipeline spill or explosion we might lose our water, livelihood, home, or even lives. And because easements are granted forever, our property rights are lost forever.
You can try to deal with Enbridge alone, but the odds aren’t good for one person against a $44 billion Canadian company. However, time and time again, history has shown that when faced against powerful forces, landowners who band together and work as a team can beat the odds and better protect themselves, rather than going it alone.
The Wisconsin Easement Action Team (WEAT) is a new non-profit organization designed for Wisconsin landowners to join forces to keep Enbridge honest and from taking more property.
Through a grant, WEAT has retained the legal services of Mr. Brian Jorde, the attorney who successfully stopped Trans Canada from taking farmers’ and ranchers’ land across Nebraska for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Brian helped create NEAT, the Nebraska Easement Action Team. NEAT’s model of success is our goal for WEAT in Wisconsin.
WEAT Informational Meetings Tuesday, Sept 13 6:00-8:00 PM Firemen’s Park Hall 500 Park Avenue Waterloo, WI
Wednesday, September 14 6:00-8:00 PM First Presbyterian Gym 200 S. Lincoln Ave.
Thursday, Sept 15 2:00-4:00 PM Flat Creek Eatery 10290 WI-27 Hayward, WI
WEAT is designed to:
- establish a strong coalition of similarly affected landowners
- offer you and your neighbors means to protect your interests
- educate and organize landowners
- provide a medium for sharing information
- provide experts in legal and advocacy issues to keep you informed
- provide options to help make the best decision for you and your family when Enbridge contacts you
- if necessary, negotiate the fine print of the easement between you and Enbridge so that landowners are protected as far as possible
- if necessary, provide information about legal representation for price negotiation
WEAT is being launched at three meetings throughout Wisconsin (see sidebar for meeting date and location near you). Attorney Jorde will give the keynote presentation at each meeting and will be available to answer questions. Other speakers will provide updates on Enbridge activities. Find out
- if joining WEAT makes sense for you
- how to join WEAT
- how WEAT will be funded
- what WEAT will do for you
- what to watch for when negotiating easements with Enbridge
- what steps Enbridge could take to condemn your property
- how collective legal representation can benefit your personal property interests
You might ask, “Why is this person writing this letter? What’s in it for him?” The answer is, my wife and I have lived in and loved our home for 22 years. Enbridge’s recent land survey for expansion came right up to our house. We don’t want to lose it. We know we can’t beat Enbridge alone so we are reaching out to other affected Wisconsin citizens to join together so we can all keep our property.
When Enbridge knocks on your door to begin land negotiations, what can you do? Joining WEAT gives you immediate legal representation backed by the power of hundreds of Wisconsin landowners who, like you, want to protect their property rights, property values, and their family’s safety. There is simply too much at stake not to work together! The WEAT website will be available beginning September 13th at www.WisconsinEasementActionTeam.org.