Same Old, Same Old

It’s pretty bad when I have to go back and dredge up posts that are two years old and post them on Facebook.  How quickly we forget.  The public has a convenient amnesia about things.  As some one who lives near a pipeline, as well as an Enbridge office, I don’t get the luxury of amnesia.  As some one who has sat at the kitchen tables of landowners who could lose their homes or farms, it’s hard for me to be unaffected by it all, or to forget.

There are simply times in life when you have to make a choice. This is one of them.

I choose not to support any candidate running for office who will not speak up against any new pipeline infrastructure in Wisconsin, or even elsewhere.  Oh sure, there are some great candidates, heroes of labor, but the problem is, some of that labor, NO NOT ALL, but some of that labor shows up at my organizing events to intimidate people and prevent them from speaking their truth about the pipelines they already deal with and the potential upcoming ones.

It became very clear to me when I had to walk a gauntlet of some rather burly LiUNA members, pipeline workers, as they lined the narrow hallway to the exit of the library in DeKalb.  I spoke to what was supposed to be landowners there and the room was loaded with union pipeline workers.

I was on the front lines during Act 10 and fully support a unionized workforce.  THAT is not the issue.

The issue is the choice that the two main parties appear to be unable to cut their ties with the fossil fuel industry for love nor money.  Now the Republicans ARE the fossil fuel industry, but the Dems?  The deeper I dug, the more sinister it got.

I’m posting a portion of my blog from exactly 2 years ago.  I had hope then that maybe things would change.  Maybe we could get a commitment from the Democratic Party to really fight pipeline infrastructure, to maybe really fight against climate change.  I’m sorely disappointed.  Jason Rae who I mention in my blog is now secretary of the National DNC.  Trump is now president and the fossil fuel industry seems more positioned to set the world on fire.  Here is my blog from 2 years ago, when I had some hope.  It’s dashed now. It’s important to understand the Wisconsin DNCs relationship with the fossil fuel industry, and this pretty much lays it out.

I just want to add, back in 2006 when negotiations, and I use that word lightly, for Lines 61 and 13 were going on, it apparently didn’t dawn on the Democrats in power at that time to provide for the people.  We now have 2.2 million barrels per day flowing though our state.  Maybe tax it?   Maybe institute a per barrel tax such as Alaska has, which provided their people with free universal health care and a check once per year.  Oh no, not here.  We got nothing.  We got the risk.  Lucky us.  We are stuck with 4 pipelines and no safety infrastructure in case of a rupture.  I have been talking myself blue in the face about what could happen if one of these babies blows, especially Line 61.  It hasn’t gotten me far.  Why?  Because for the length of this corridor, all across Wisconsin, on either side for 1500 feet we have an incineration zone.  If it doesn’t ignite we have a gas field that will kill you in a matter of seconds.  We are the Sacrifice Zone and I have been told as much by people who just don’t give a rip.  Since I wrote the blog that follows, we have gone backwards in BOTH parties, leaving me at a loss for who to support in upcoming elections.

Change Will Not Come From Above
JUNE 7, 2015
This was a big weekend. I watched the Wisconsin Democratic party delegates struggle with their choices for a candidate for chairperson of the state party. They have decided on a relatively unknown person and given the options, I would say an unknown is better than a known, in this case.

I’m surprised that the Democratic Party, the party which actually, supposedly BELIEVES in science and in Climate Change, had so much agony in this election.

Jason Rae, who has been under the tutelage of Thad Nation and Sachin Chheda of Nations Consulting, and also of Mike Tate of the Democratic Party, came far closer to winning this election that should have ever happened. For the uninitiated, Nation Consulting represents Michels, the company that lays pipeline for Enbridge. Enbridge got the go ahead from the Doyle administration to lay these lines in 2006, when Thad Nation, Sachin Chedda and Mary Burke were involved in the Doyle administration. Michels is based in Dodge County Wisconsin, but they have a huge reach internationally.

I’m shocked at the angst displayed by many pro-environmental or green delegates in the party. I’m rather new to this tangled web of Democratic pro-pipeline, pro-fossil fuel branch of the party, and I guess, because I am such a neophyte, perhaps I am naive enough to call i how I see it.

I see it like this. There is NO compromise on the issue of climate. Even more so, there is no compromise on the health, safety and welfare of the hundreds of people living on the Enbridge pipeline corridor, yep, even if the trade unions did put that pipeline in. I appreciate that working on that pipeline put bread and butter on the table of many union Democrats. I get it. What THEY seem to be missing, is no matter how much pride they take in their workmanship, no matter how carefully they did their work, their work on those damn pipelines, threatened my life, my children’s lives in a very direct way, and they continue to threaten hundreds of families along that line, when we have a heavier than air gas release. Since PHMSA has decided to come clean and say that there is a minimum distance for proximity of homes to the pipeline and that is roughly 1000 feet, IF there is no heavier than air gas present, I have had the opportunity to ponder the fate of all the folks along that line. Believe me, many of the rural residential folks are not even beyond the 1000 feet required for non-heavier than air gasses. They are simply not safe near those pipelines, any of them, just like I was not safe on the first line to go in that corridor Line 6a.

A good union friend of mine said, “How would you like it if some Joe Blow unskilled non-union pipefitter did that work instead of a highly skilled union worker?” To that I answer, it’s like asking which ax I prefer to lose my head to. Yeah, sure, probably the sharper ax, wielded by a strong arm with a good aim. Really, is this the kind of reasoning, I have to expect from Labor? I was cautioned that if I supported some one from a different party than the Dems, our fate could be left to some one less skilled, so basically, shut up, accept the pipeline put in by unions workers, and above all vote Dem, because, this is as good as it gets for folks like me. Yes, as good as it gets for folks like us? This is just the way the cookie crumbles. This is just the way the machine goes ’round and round.

Not in my world.

You see, folks, Climate Change has made life a lot more simple and complex at the same time. Simple, because we don’t have a lot of time left. Simple because a lot of us are in sacrifice zones brought on by the boom in North American fossil fuels. Complex because big oil will play the card of bomb trains against pipelines as did one Nation’s employee, during a heated conversation last weekend. Yep, Dems playing ‘Divide and Conquer’on Facebook. Complex, because, Progressive voters have been taking scraps from the Democratic Party, the size of which depends, on where on the food chain, we are located. Keystone vetoed, while Enbridge was allowed to silently plow over thousands of miles of farmland, and thousands of people’s lives, and 321 of those miles, are Line 61 and 13, in my neighborhood.

The Democratic Party MUST stop it’s covert climate change denial, via support of Labor involved with the fossil fuel industry. It’s time to stop biting our nails and defaulting to, ‘what could happen if Scott Walker gets elected president?’ as we relinquish more of our dignity. As much as I support unions, and all of our causes since the uprising, Labor does not have enough money to outspend the Koch’s in an election. We had better come up with a better battle plan.

Maybe we just need to vote our consciences. It appears like there was a step in that direction on Saturday. I’m willing to keep an open mind, and see what efforts are directed toward assisting those of us that are in this situation in the first place, because of the Dems, Nation Consulting and Michels.


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