This article by Jonathan Stefonek appeared in the Portage Daily Register, April 5th, 2018.
A brief commentary by Curt Hubatch, Community Rights US media team member: The other day a friend and colleague shared this article on my Facebook page. I immediately took interest and read it. The article has to do with tar sands oil pipelines, local government, and citizen opposition in Columbia County, Wisconsin. I grew up in Dodge County…which adjoins Columbia County. And, as usual, by the time I got to the end of the article I had questions. This happens when I finish most articles about citizens showing up to scheduled town or county government meetings voicing their opposition to a big issue that would directly effect them and future generations. In this case it was a quote by a local official:
“…pipelines are regulated by the state and the feds, and it would be very difficult to regulate theRem with this current [zoning ordinance] language.” — Newly retired Columbia County Planning and Zoning Director John Bluemke
To regulate is to allow, as we say in the Community Rights movement. Why, at this stage of the climate crisis, are we talking about allowing more pipelines to be built? Pipelines that are carrying more carbon to be burned and released in an atmosphere that already has too much carbon in it. Do we really think we are going to allow and regulate a foreign corporation like Enbridge to build more pipelines through our towns and counties and reduce carbon emissions? What would happen, I wonder, if more of us started showing up to our local public meetings with this in mind: We have the Right to Local, Community Self-Government. It’s our right to say “no” to more oil pipelines and “yes” to a sustainable energy future. After all, we will be the ones directly effected by the imaginable harms of this project. In this case a project being proposed by a foreign corporation whose board members do not live in any of the communities in Wisconsin that this pipeline runs through.
An effort to rewrite Columbia County zoning codes related to pipeline installation stalled Tuesday.
Following an outpouring of opposition to the proposal from residents who showed up to the county committee meeting, Committee member Kevin Kessler of Lodi recommended the matter be postponed until next month, after a new County Board has been installed. MORE…