Kalamazoo County Rejects Enbridge Energy, Passes Anti- Line 5 Resolution.

On May 16th, Another long and heated Kalamazoo County Commission meeting preceded a vote to pass a resolution in favor of shutting down Enbridge Line

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Enbridge Manager of Community Relations Jason Manscum (5/17/17

5.

During the Comission of the Whole meeting at 3pm Enbridge Energy’s Manager of Community Relations, Jason Manshum, presented the case in favor of Line 5. He was invited to present to the Commission by Commissioner Gisler, who was absent. Kent County Water Conservation’s Stephanie Mabie presented many damning facts about Line 5 and encouraged Commissioners to vote in favor of the resolution.

One would think that County Commission meetings are pretty boring, mild mannered, and “orderly”- especially with issues as small as resolutions. This particular resolution has caused not only for the chambers of the commissioner’s to host intense debate, but also created a local media frenzy. In 2010, Enbridge Energy’s Line 6bv (now line 78), spilled 1 million gallons of tar sand oil into the Kalamazoo River. The company did not react or respond to the loss of pressure in the pipeline for 17 hours before shutting off the flow of oil. The spill contaminated the bed and shores of the river in Calhoun County and Kalamazoo County. Enbridge attempted to cover up the spill, and were caught in a lie. They were eventually forced to actually clean up what they could, bringing total costs and fines up to well over $1 billion.

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Mimicking State Officials and playing games with the Great Lakes! (5/17/17

When the resolution was to be voted on the first time, the Kalamazoo County Commissioner’s chose to remove the resolution from the agenda due to fears of missing out on a $47,000 grant from Enbridge Energy, as described by the agenda and commission chair, Dale Shugar, during the meeting in early April. This fanned the flames for supporters of the resolution, whose numbers continued to swell at each meeting. Nearly 2 hours of public comment were given on the night of May 16, as well as during previous meetings. No one opposed to the resolution gave an in person comment during the process.

During the recess between the Commission of the Whole meeting and the Public Meeting, a loud argument broke out between a city commissioner and a county commissioner outside in front of the Kalamazoo County Building. There are plenty of other places documenting that fued, let’s not give them much attention here.

The vote came up around 10:45 PM.  The resolution went from not having enough support to bring to a vote, to passing with a 7-3 vote. Commissioner Quinn, who introduced the document said it was the peoples commitment that swung the vote.

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Kzoo County residents will speak for themselves when their officials hesitate.

Line 5 Resolution Off Agenda, Enbridge $$$ On. Public Forces Kzoo County Board to Recess.

On the evening of Tuesday, April 18, dozens of residents came out to support a Kalamazoo County resolution to shut down Enbridge Line 5. Line 5 is corroding in the open waters of the Straits of Mackinac and is widely recognized as a potential source of a devastating oil spill. As both wild and domestic riparian communities within the county suffered from the impacts of the 2010 Enbridge tar sands spill in the Kalamazoo River, this meeting saw nearly 2 hours of passionate public comment.

Most of the attendees at the meeting had come to here the presentation and discussion of the resolution. Instead, they found out it had been removed from the agenda due to a strategy formulated around political party lines. The democrats felt that since they were one person short, they would wait to present the resolution on a later date. This was the second delay experienced by advocates of the resolution. The board’s chair, Dale Shugar, prevented the resolution from being presented at the April 4th meeting. (see resolution at bottom of story)

The board hears public comments at the beginning of the meeting (7 pm); but by 8 pm people were shaming commissioners, sending them warnings, as well as demanding answers. During one residents’ comments about the terminal illness they were diagnosed with after spending time on the oil laden river, the audience grew its courage to defy orders from Dale Shugar to maintain quorum and began cheering as people gave their statements. As a local women declared, ” if you sit on this board and stand against (the resolution to shut down line 5) you are an enemy of this community”,  people whooped, hollered, banged on chairs and walls to show their approval for the dissenting words. Shugars hastily called a recess, which lasted for 15 or 20 minutes. The Republicans retreated to a back room, while the Democratic commissioners came out to talk to crowd. They said things such as how everyone in the crowd needs to do a better job at educating the entire board about Line 5 and that their 5-4 party line vote strategy should be respected. This was met with a mixture of approval and open disapproval.

The regular meeting was able to resume sometime around 9 pm after the recess was over and the second round of public comment was completed.

Why did continuous disruptions occur about a symbolic statement? During this same meeting another agenda item was not kicked down the road. The County Board of Commissioners had another Enbridge discussion scheduled. It was proposed that they get a grant for $47,000 from Enbridge to enable the Sheriffs Department to patrol the river. (see document below)

Twice now has this board delayed the resolution, and the anti-Line 5 crowd more than doubled this time. People are showing their determination to neither be be bought nor sold on this issue. We don’t need Enbridge money, we need the Great Lakes. We need to stand with communities along Line 5 to prevent the experience we endured in 2010.

GREAT LAKES, GREAT TIMES!

SHUT DOWN LINE 5!

 

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Banners Up to Keep Focus on Enbridge Line 5

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US 131 in the SW Lower Peninsula

 

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Next to US 127 in the Houghton Lake area

On the morning of April, 3rd, two new roadside attractions cast shame on Attorney General Bill Schuette in recognizing the potential for an ecologically devastating oil spill in the Straits of Mackinaw.

We want to call the public’s attention to the broken Treaty of 1836. Enbridge Line 5 severely threatens Tribal Fishing Rights and tribes were never consulted about Line 5 before or during it’s construction in 1953.

Attorney General Bill Schuette’s unwillingness to protect the Great Lakes from another oil spill is a grave threat to the ecology of the Great Lakes Basin. We expect this business as usual form of negligence from Enbridge and Governor Snyder, but shame on you Bill Schuette.

See you this summer,

Earth First!ers in the Great Lakes Basin

 

 

Great Lakes Sturgeons Vs. Enbridge Oilers: Game Day Report Back

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On Monday, March 13th more than 250 people from the Great Lakes Basin convened in Lansing, Mi to support the Great Lakes and demand the shut down of Enbridge Line 5. Enbridge presented information about the anti-corrosive coating that is missing in 18 segments of the twin pipes in the Straits of Mackinaw- this information defined the day.

Prior to the meeting, the Great Lakes Sturgeons Cheer Team and Color Guard held a pep rally in support of the Great Lakes as they endure these games being played by Attorney General Bill Schuette and Governor Rick Snyder. Sturgeons fans rallied with chants, cheers, and a special appearance by the Sturgeon General. A game day program was distributed, feel free to access it here- sturgeon v oilers(1)

Enbridge Oilers mascot Charlie “The Oil” Sheen was not present, but offers these words:

“I’m an Oilers fan, man- show me some love! I poisoned the rivers and I killed the dove! If we can kill all existence, there can be no more resistance!”

The pep rally became excited and further energized when it saw the arrival of a full charter bus and two large vans organized by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa.

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Photo Credit: Valerie Jean

It was a sold out game with standing room only when The Great Lakes Sturgeons went head to head against rival Enbridge Oilers at the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) meeting. During the Oilers presentation, aggressive heckling ensued. Oilers forward Kurt Barenieki could be seen physically shaking while giving Enbridge’s presentation. Kurt was continuously heckled, called out, and fact checked during his presentation. “Remember the Kalamazoo” “Shut Down Line 5” and other lines echoed off of the picture frames containing images of the Great Lakes in the meeting room.

Score: Sturgeons- 1 Oilers- 0.

During this play, a flag was thrown by the board’s co-chair Valerie Brader. The rowdy crowd was shooshed by state officials and fellow attendees alike. This power play gave Barenieki his platform and he was able to finish his presentation. After more heckling and questions from the board, Barenieki headed back to the bench.

Score: Sturgeons- 1  Oilers- 1.

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Fred Harrington and his Grandson prepare to address the board.

The public comment period was extended for an extra hour due to the high volume of “public participants”. In all, 260 public comments were submitted on site along with more than two hours of verbal comments- during which Sturgeon fans became rowdier when a man and his grandson showed the officials what an oil spill would look like. The PSAB had only scheduled 30 minutes for public participation, but due to pressure before and during the meeting, conceded to running the meeting late. The meeting ended as rowdy as it began, resulting in  Enbridge Oilers representatives and Public Relations unable to conduct interviews with the press as they were “escorted out of the back door by security”.

Final Score: Sturgeons-2 Oilers- 1

The Sturgeons had a great victory today, but the Oilers domination continues. The 64 year old pipeline could burst any day due to a combination of corrosion, strong currents in the Straits, and general negligence on Enbridge’s behalf.

Although the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board has no authority to shut down Line 5, and is very much a stall and delay strategy in the games being played by Rick Snyder and Bill Schuette, these meetings expose Enbridge’s enormous threat to the ecology of the Great Lakes. Enbridge will be met with die hard Sturgeon fans at the next board meeting this June when the PSAB is expected to give it’s opinion of Line 5. In the mean time, Bill Schuette and Rick Snyder can expect to hear from Sturgeon fans as they try to recruit the state officials as enforcers. If this recruitment campaign fails- the two power brokers, along with Enbridge, will be in for a long hot summer.

 

 

Calling all Earth First!ers, Land Defenders and Earth Loving Rebels Join us for the 2017 Earth First! Winter Rendezvous – February 10-14th

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From: Hudson Valley Earth First!
Mohicanituck or the “River that flows two ways” Watershed
so-called New York – Lenape/mahican Territory
February 10th – 14th

All over the world, battles are raging to defend the earth and its
inhabitants. Despite the insatiable appetite of industrial
civilization and it’s propensity to degrade, destroy and domesticate,
we still see bold resistance and wild resiliency. Here on Turtle
Island: the forces of colonization continue to displace and denigrate
the land and water, under the guise of progress, economic prosperity
and comfort. The ecosystems we are part of are under attack and
self-defense for our communities is the only option.

Hudson Valley Earth First! is thrilled to host this year’s Earth
First! Winter Rendezvous in the Catskill Mountains of the Hudson
River Watershed for a week of workshops, music, hiking , fire, howling  at the moon         and, of course, effective direct action. We have reserved heated cabins and other indoor space to engage in important movement discussions and provide a space to plug into existing campaigns and projects in our bioregion.

Pipelines, power plants, bomb trains and a whole slew of other
development projects are either currently under construction or in the
proposal and permitting phases. Despite a de facto ban on fracking in
NY, oil and gas infrastructure continue to invade our communities.
We are excited to bring an uncompromising Earth First! presence to a
region that has never hosted a Rondy before. We aim to craft this
year’s Winter OC and Rendezvous into both a meaningful opportunity to
connect activists and environmental campaigns from across the country,
and a resounding gesture of solidarity with all those resisting the
spread and effects of industrial society.

Registration:

We are encouraging folks to pre-register to camp to reserve space in
one of the cabins/’hotel’ rooms, to  better accommodate folk’s needs,
as well as provide us with an estimate number of attendance. If you
are able, please donate prior to camp to help offset our costs for hosting
the event. Warm and comfy cabins, and the amazing kitchen you will be served
out of unfortunately do not come for free. We ask for a donation of least
$5 per person per day, and more if you can swing it! However, no one will be
away for lack of funds. Please donate at the link below….

Donate here:
https://fundly.com/hudson-valley-earth-first-action-fund

Send us an RSVP e-mail with answers to the following:
–    When you are coming & how long you plan to stay
–    If you want to stay in a TWAC or MAD cabin
–    Housing needs relating to sobriety, a quiet or less quiet preference
–    Food allergies or dietary preferences
–    Any other needs, questions or concerns you may have

Transportation:

The closest airports are Albany NY, Stewart Airport and any NYC airports
There is a bus from the Albany Airport and from Penn Station NYC to
the town of Big Indian, NY close to where the WR will be held. A bus into
Phoenecia, NY would also work, just a few minutes further. We can
provide any pick-ups from bus stop as needed, just let us know.
https://trailwaysny.com/purchase-tickets/

In terms of arrival time, the Winter rendezvous begin the afternoon of  Friday the      10th, so make plans accordingly.

Any questions please e-mail us.

Please Consider:

The Winter Rendezvous is an event open to all (except cops and law
enforcement, of course), so please leave oppressive, elitist and
disruptive attitudes at home. Elitist or oppressive behavior will not
be tolerated. Our goal is a week of celebration, learning and sharing
of ideas that is open to all, from rural landowners, to townies, to
environmental activists of all stripes. Remember the saying: talk to
someone you don’t know – let’s help our movement grow! As always,
there will be spaces for alcohol and partying, and there will be
spaces conducive to sobriety and quietude. It is expected that these
spaces and policies will be respected. In short, don’t be a jerk!
There will also be a safe space for child-care, and we could use help
creating and maintaining it. There will be on-site medics with
emergency medical training and herbal medicine knowledge, as well as
spaces to go for health and healing. If you have any particular skills
that would help with any of these things, contact us.

There will be folks working security/welcome throughout the gathering
to keep any unwelcome people out of the gathering and welcome folks
into camp. As is usual, we will be constantly signing up volunteers to
help with camp security, childcare, conflict mediation, and other
tasks to keep the camp functioning.

Contact us for more info, or if you are interested in volunteering,
presenting workshops or trainings, etc:

hudsonvalleyearthfirst (at) riseup.net

www.hudsonvalleyearthfirst.wordpress.com

No compromise!