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2012 Archives

Angry Michigan Residents Fight Uneven Battle Against Pipeline Project on Their Land

Excerpt

The following ran in the Sept. 12, 2012, edition of Inside Climate News. Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, provided expertise for this story.

September 18, 2012

By David Hasemyer

The notice that arrived at Debbie and David Hense's home last September didn't seem especially alarming. Enbridge Inc. was going to replace Line 6B, the oil pipeline that leaked more than a million gallons of heavy crude into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010. Since 6B runs through the Henses' 22-acre property near Fenton, Mich., some of the construction would be done there.
 
What the Henses didn't know, however, was that Enbridge intended to take an additional swath of their land for the pipeline—and there was little they or any of the other landowners who lived along the 210-mile route could do to stop it.
 
In addition to the existing 60-foot easement Enbridge already has through the Henses' property, the company wants another 25 feet—about the width of a two-lane highway—for the new pipeline. It also wants a temporary 60-foot easement for a work area.
 
For the Henses, this means the loss of a century-old stand of trees. In Oceola Township, Beth Duman will lose part of her back deck. In the town of Howell, Peter Baldwin will lose a section of the nature preserve he has nurtured for decades.
 
Today the Henses and other angry residents have become unlikely activists, determined to at least have a voice in the $1.3 billion replacement project....

"Without pipelines the energy supply complex would collapse," said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business in Dallas. "How would goods get to market? What would happen to transportation? Commerce is dependent on gasoline."...