Courage versus Cowardice

I am so incredibly proud of the Dane County Board voting to deny Enbridge’s appeal. It makes no difference as far as the pumping station goes, because our State Legislature passed a law stating that counties can’t require insurance from pipeline companies…great law, hey? But, it was the first spark of local governments resisting the heavy fat thumb of tyranny, which is what we are living under right now. Tyranny. Plain and simple. Finally, some of those elected to represent us, ARE! Regardless of the cost to them, and Enbridge will exact a cost, as I call it ‘monetary penance’ for defying them, so we need to be there to support these brave souls. 27 to 2 was a pretty impressive vote. I’m over the moon happy to see that many brave people willing to tell Enbridge to stick it with their demand that they retroactively change the original CUP conditions and expunge them, forever….that they admit that the conditions were illegal, when in fact they were not.

Enbridge’s attorney  argued that if the County Board members voted to deny the Conditional Use Permit, that they were violating Wisconsin law,  and could be subject to some kind of penalty, even though, when the Zoning and Land Regulation Committee approved the CUP last April, the Wisconsin State Legislature had not yet passed a law banning municipalities from requiring insurance from pipeline companies. Not to mention, they did not write in a retroactivity clause.  I’m hoping that the weasels in the legislature are not rushing to an emergency meeting to pass a law for this to be retroactive.

The Dane County Board stood with the Zoning and Land Regulation Committee’s decision to require that Enbridge purchase an additional environmental insurance policy.  (Even though the State has made that clause unenforceable.)

Peter Anderson and Mary Elliot of Madison 350.org did a masterful job presenting the case for denying the appeal and retaining the wording of the April CUP.

So ,does that mean that will happen?  In one word, no.  But those who stood for the people’s safety, will be forever on record, historically, as having done that.  More importantly, it is the first time we have had a major community rights action against Enbridge.  That is real victory here.  The Dane County Board refused to be bullied into retracting its wording, to expunging its mention of wanting an insurance policy, because they were within their rights to do so, and because it was the reasonable action to take, to protect the citizens of Dane County.  Obviously our State Legislature feels no compulsion to protect our citizens from the fossil fuel industry.  They don’t want them to have to pay for the damages they do, they are letting them run roughshod over our rural people with their new and improved eminent domain law too.

I had the honor,  by luck of the draw, to be the first speaker before the county board.  There were many passionate and eloquent speakers last night and being first to speak allowed me to enjoy the full experience by listening to each and every one.  The meeting went on to almost midnight before the vote was taken.

I won’t bore you with the entire speech, but the closing words of my 5 minute statement to the board were,  “If it isn’t clear to the Dane County Board by now, the legislature will attack the County’s right to zone, regardless of what the county board decides to do here tonight. Enbridge will likely attempt to extract monetary penance from those who dare to oppose them. We are not dealing with a reasonable legislature or system, we are dealing with tyranny and we can stand up to it with courage or cower. A governmental body that represents people, must at some point take a stand for the people. No matter which body takes a stand and no matter when they do it the odds are next to impossible to prevail but the duty to take a stand has never been greater. For history will record our courage or our cowardice on the matter.”

We seldom realize we are making history while we are doing it but history will record our Dane County Board as courageous.  The vote may vanish into obscurity, but it’s possible that history may record yesterday’s  vote as another ‘shot heard round the world’ and a shot in the best way. History will certainly record our  27 Dane County Board members who voted ‘no’ as patriots.  I salute them.

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One thought on “Courage versus Cowardice

  1. Pingback: Recap of Dane County Board comments, December 3, 2015 | 350 MADISON

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