We all want to think that at least our local governments may listen to us and act to protect us and sometimes they do, as Dane County did on December 3, when they voted to retain the language of the Waterloo pump station conditional use permit. That was a feel good moment. It was one of those moments when the good guys won.
We had a different kind of moment in Waterloo WI this Monday. We attempted to deliver the National Academy of Sciences Report on the Increased Dangers of Tar Sands Oil in the Event of a Spill.
We were denied entry to a public building, the Waterloo Fire Station and told that the donation of a truck by Enbridge was a private event. I wouldn’t think that donating anything to a public entity is a private event. Enbridge had invited the Press there, so how private could it be? The Press, who is supposed to report the story, apparently didn’t feel that the FACTS of the National Academy of Sciences were important. The Press that didn’t feel it worth reporting that a group had gathered at the locked doors, in the cold rain, to challenge the concept that Enbridge is basically buying the support of fire departments all along the line with their used fleet trucks, without presenting the fire departments all the facts about what will happen to their personnel, and their town, in the event of a serious pipeline disaster. The Press, who apparently didn’t think the group of people locked out of the building were an important part of the story of the Cheap Truck.
As Carl Whiting of WISE stated, the report we were attempting to present to the Mayor, would be far more useful in the event of a spill than this used Enbridge truck.
Fortunately, our report is going to make it to the Waterloo City Council and the Waterloo Fire Department, thanks to Matt Ziaja a council person who advocated for us to be able to enter the event. The City Clerk also felt that excluding the public from the event was uncalled for. Even some of the local police felt it was a bad move on the part of the Mayor of Waterloo. I think this was a wake up call to many of the general public who were holding out hope that perhaps we still had some democracy left at the local level.
So, maybe we didn’t make it into the event, but it sure illustrates who is running the government these days. It couldn’t be any clearer. I hope the people of Waterloo consider this during the next local election cycle and elect a mayor who is concerned with the safety of the people of their community. Some one who is at least willing to listen to the scientific facts. I hope the people of Waterloo, fight to restore their democracy at the local level. I hope they throw open the doors and window so the light can come in.