Citizen Action Monitor

Wisconsin citizens slam dunk Enbridge’s planned friendly “Coffee and Conversation” gathering

The people turned Enbridge’s “sham public hearing” into a “real public hearing”

No 1084 Posted by fw, June 28, 2014

“Several of those frustrated by the company’s format for the evening started setting up chairs that were stacked on a wall in the room. Enbridge officials seemed perplexed as people started grabbing chairs and setting them into the room. At one point the lead Enbridge spokeswoman tried to tell those setting up chairs to move them to the back of the room, but by this point almost everyone in the room was helping with the impromptu action. Enbridge wanted people alone and isolated. The people in attendance, many of them strangers to each other, wanted a real public hearing.”Occupy Riverwest

Ya gotta love those American citizen activists. Bracketed by two short video clips from an Enbridge hearing that went off the tracks, the slightly modified post below includes added subheadings and just one photo. To access the original story, including its many photos, click on the following linked title.

Jefferson County Residents Seize Control of Enbridge Line 61 Hearing by Occupy Riverwest, June 25, 2014

Video clip of citizen grilling Enbridge on Line 61 expansion

Carl Whiting attended the Enbridge hearing on their Line 61 tar sands pipeline expansion and questions how secretive the company has been about approving the plan without any public scrutiny or testimony.

Citizens sabotaged Enbridge’s clumsy attempt to create positive PR

Enbridge knew that the residents of Jefferson County, Wisconsin, were starting to catch on to the dangers of their proposed Line 61 tar sands pipeline expansion. So, in an attempt to create positive PR, Enbridge called for an event Tuesday night at the local Fort Community Credit Union called “Coffee and Conversation” in order to answer questions about the project. Enbridge set the agenda as well as the scope of the hearing, so nobody knew what to expect from the meeting. Nobody knew, that is, until the people of Jefferson County seized control of the event and turned it into a real public hearing.

Enbridge had planned a Q&A with selected individuals; residents had other plans

Two Jefferson Police Officers greeted people as they entered the venue where the hearing was taking place. It was later determined the officers’ time was paid for by Enbridge officials. Some of us wondered why Enbridge felt that police presence was necessary at a friendly PR event. An Enbridge sign-in table awaited attendees and several company representatives stood in front of three large cardboard promotional placards and talked with residents as they arrived. It became apparent that the company plan was to field questions from individual residents instead of holding a full group hearing. Enbridge clearly wanted to avoid a group encounter with concerned citizens. That’s when the people of Jefferson decided to take democracy into their own hands.

Enbridge wanted people “alone and isolated”; residents simply ignored spokeswoman’s attempt to direct crowd to back

Several of those frustrated by the company’s format for the evening started setting up chairs that were stacked on a wall in the room. Enbridge officials seemed perplexed as people started grabbing chairs and setting them into the room. At one point the lead Enbridge spokeswoman tried to tell those setting up chairs to move them to the back of the room, but by this point almost everyone in the room was helping with the impromptu action. Enbridge wanted people alone and isolated. The people in attendance, many of them strangers to each other, wanted a real public hearing.

Ignoring Enbridge officials, residents crowd to front

Ignoring Enbridge officials, residents crowd to front

In Q&A, Enbridge failed in attempts to use canned answers or to simply ignore hard questions; so citizens shouted out answers

Once the chairs were all placed everyone sat down and started asking tough questions of Enbridge officials. Most of the residents’ questions were answered with canned company talking points, not taken seriously, or in some cases completely ignored, as was the case when a representative of Enbridge was asked to explain the chemical make-up of the diluent used by the company to help transport thick tar sands. The company officials never gave a straight answer to this question. Finally another woman, despite attempts by an Enbridge official to halt her, revealed the toxic ingredients in the diluent to a horrified room.

Residents unanimous – NO PIPELINE EXPANSION

Residents brought up many valid reasons to oppose or question the pipeline expansion, but one thing was for certain; the entire room, with one visible exception, was opposed to the pipeline’s expansion or needed more questions answered. Not surprising for a project that would expand Line 61 to carry a far bigger tar sands payload than the Keystone XL, which itself has been delayed multiple times due to fierce resistance.

Enbridge had avoided public hearings on Line 61 in attempt to avoid public scrutiny and construction delays

Why then has there only been one public hearing in Superior, Wisconsin on Line 61? Because Enbridge doesn’t want this pipeline to be delayed the same way as Keystone XL so they’ve stealthily moved the pipeline forward in hopes of avoiding the same scrutiny.

People of Wisconsin not about to back down

As the standing room only crowd at this hearing can attest, the people of Wisconsin are not happy about such corporate trickery, and are not about to back down.

Resident chant “Put the people before the profits” ends “sham” public hearing

After two hours of lying, dodging, and flat out refusing to answer questions about the Line 61 expansion plans Enbridge company officials were chanted down to end the sham public hearing — “Put the people before the profits!”

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2014 by in community action and tagged .
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