Opinion | Enbridge is not working to protect Michigan waters

Liz Kirkwood is executive director of FLOW (For Love of Water)

Politics aside, we Michiganders unite around our deep love for the Great Lakes. We adorn our cars, shirts, baseball caps, and coffee mugs with Great Lakes images and slogans like, “4 out of 5 Great Lakes prefer Michigan” and “No salt, no sharks, no worries.” 

Enbridge Energy, which owns and operates the decaying Line 5 oil pipelines that cross in the Straits of Mackinac, has tried to buy its way into this Great Lakes-proud storyline with extensive lobbying and an aggressive statewide ad campaign.  

At the same time, Enbridge has been pursuing a scorched-earth strategy in the courts, trying to force the hand of state government to bless continued operation of its pipelines for another decade while an underwater tunnel is built – instead of sitting down and negotiating with Governor Whitmer on a timeline to decommission Line 5 and address the real risk to Michigan’s waters and its people.

The Enbridge legal strategy scored an interim victory on Oct. 31, when a Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled that the legislation authorizing the tunnel was constitutional despite an adverse opinion from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Resorting to legal hardball undercuts Enbridge’s unceasing stream of full-page ads in major newspapers across Michigan that read: “We’re working to protect Michigan’s water.” 

But those ads themselves betray Enbridge’s assault on the truth. An investigative report by Bridge Magazine last month uncovered that a man pictured in one of its ads is not an Enbridge employee, but a federal employee working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. The reporting found that Enbridge not only failed to get permission to use Eric Anderson’s photo, but it also edited out his NOAA badge, with the result that he appears to be an Enbridge employee “working to protect Michigan’s water.” 

If nothing else, recent developments provide another glimpse into the Enbridge playbook of distraction and deception. Here’s how: 

Step 1: Distract lawmakers, local officials, and the public from focusing on the high risk of catastrophic harm from the current Line 5 oil pipeline operations installed in 1953 in our public waters. Instead, promote a get-’er-done “solution” to build a multibillion-dollar, private oil pipeline tunnel through public bottomlands without even knowing its feasibility and ignoring the climate crisis. 

Step 2:  Mislead state officials and the public about the company’s willingness and financial capacity to bear the costs of spill cleanup.  An expert report submitted to the state finds that based on recent filings, parties to the tunnel agreement Enbridge signed last December with lame-duck Gov. Rick Snyder “did not have $1.878 billion in liquid assets, credit facilities and insurance for the damages arising from a rupture of Line 5.” That means one thing – taxpayers would shoulder the burden.

Step 3: Hire public relations firms with big budgets to develop a deceptive multimillion-dollar advertising campaign across Michigan to counter strong public opinion against Enbridge’s risky Line 5.

Step 4: Hire lobbyists to persuade and work side-by-side with county governments to draft copycat resolutions and op-eds supporting a tunnel to house a private Canadian oil pipeline under our Great Lakes. 

The public demands action on Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits as we approach the gales of November, a long winter, and zero capability of cleaning up an oil spill under ice. Fortunately, there is a simple, equitable remedy for the danger posed by Enbridge’s Line 5 pipelines: Restoring the rule of law on Line 5, as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is rightly seeking to do in her lawsuit to shut down Line 5 because of its high risk to our public waters.  That suit moves forward while last week’s Court of Claims ruling is appealed.

Enbridge has so far escaped the legal requirement with which all others who want to use the publicly owned lakebed must comply: a demonstration under Michigan law that its patchwork pipeline overhaul and the proposed tunnel will not pose an unacceptable risk to the Great Lakes and the public interest, and that there are no feasible prudent alternatives. PR claims alone do not meet this requirement.

A Line 5 shutdown is the only real way to protect Michigan’s waters from Enbridge.

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Comments

Agreed
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 10:18am

Thank you for a wonderful piece in support of our beloved Great Lakes. We must shut line 5 right now. Its rupture is a tremendous disaster waiting to happen. Who do our elected officials work for, us or Cananda? Enbridge has NO CREDIBILITY and clear HISTORY of OBSCENE NEGLIGENCE regarding the Kalamazoo River. One wonders is such extreme neglect criminal? Should it be? Should the CEOs of Enbridge face jail time, if Line 5 ruptures? After all, what good are promises, if Enbridge files for bankruptcy after the disaster occurs? Should Enbridge have to put money in an environmental escrow fund as a surety?

Yet sadly one wonders, are sellouts like Blanchard in Enbridge's deep pockets along with Snyder? Is the ongoing level of public corruption deeper than Lake Superior? When will the politicians follow the will of the majority of Michiganders? Elections have consequences and the stakes are so high.

Bermadette
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 11:55am

This should not be a political issue, yet it is. Every one of our failing systems (government, education, healthcare, etc) has been made into a political issue, with an I'm right, you're wrong approach.

Where is the leadership who is supposed to look out 7 generations to see the long term impact of decisions made today. I have not seen any of that thinking in the past 40 years. Thus, that is why we are where we are in Michigan today. I would hope people could think about their children and grandchildren and look towards future generations.

Keeping people in fear and anger with partisan arguments has stressed people out to the point of illness. I for one want some rational conversation based on the facts, looking toward the future.

Matt
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 6:31pm

Speaking of in your words …."Keeping people in fear and anger with partisan arguments has stressed people out to the point of illness. I for one want some rational conversation based on the facts, looking toward the future.", can you give us the probability of this "risk", since you want the government to seize this investment? 1 in 1000, 10,000, A Million, Billion? An asteroid striking Michigan and obliterating the great lakes? What are we talking about here?

Bernadette
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 9:13am

Matt,

"Line 5 has spilled 33 times and at least 1.1 million gallons along its length since 1968." That is a fact. This line is old and has not been maintained according to contractual agreements signed by Enbridge. An anchor strike from a ship in peril in 2018 gashed and dented both underwater pipelines. The tarnished safety record of Enbridge, Inc., the Canadian company that operates the pipeline.
There are ongoing issues of compliance with the contract between the pipeline company and the State of Michigan including 8 known violations. Finally, the location of this pipeline due to the currents in this area of the straits, will have an enormous impact throughout the state.

http://graham.umich.edu/media/files/mackinac-report.pdf

Matt
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 1:01pm

Bernadette. Seriously???? You believe The National Wildlife Federation is anything like an unbiased party which would choose a truly disintereested "expert" to do a study giving anything other than their desired finding? You must think we are very naive. Your stats, without me even trying to verify them are also silly. What would the pollution results have been if the pipeline never existed and that same petrol would have been trucked or used tanker cars over the same distance, time and volume? Without any doubt much worse! It is amazing how to accomplish the objective of killing off this pipeline your side refuses to acknowledge the inevitable tradeoffs and risks of any alternative transportation. All economic activity has environmental tradeoffs despite your side's inability to admit it. But of course, again, the oil spill in the lake is a ruse for forcing petroleum out of our economy without admitting the implications and huge cost of this to the voting public. It would be much more interesting if the eco-left would skip this nonsense and be straight up with advocating their Green New Deal and how we'll run our economy and our lives on wind and solar panels and show us how it's working for them!

Bernadette
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 7:38pm

Step aside and let the next generations solve this problem. Everything for you comes down to money, and "how it will affect me". I am not sure if you know this, but we are no longer in 1950,

middle of the mit
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:46pm

But you are willing to believe what Enbridge and the Mackinaw Center for Public destruction (sorry) policy say?

Ohhh, that's right! Industry can regulate itself! Then let industry Sign CONTRACTS SAYING THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR FAILING THOSE CONTRACTS, AND THEN LET THEM NOT BE ABLE TO CLAIM BANKRUPTCY TO NEGATE THOSE CONTRACTS! Are you willing to go there? I don't think Enbridge would, that may be why they didn't sign on to RESPONSIBILITY.

Until they do that, you and they can go hose themselves.

Jake
Sun, 11/10/2019 - 10:12pm

Actually, pipeline safety is regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of the federal DOT. And its most recent analysis found that Line 5 continues to be fit for service.

Jim Kat
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 1:50pm

Matt you keep losing focus and going off the target. The question should be what are you talking about?

Michigan Observer
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 2:51pm

Matt is absolutely dead on when he attempts to get his opponent to specify what probability they would find acceptable. Obviously, there is no such probability, no matter how small.

middle of the mit
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 11:12pm

Yeah! What probability is there that an oil spill would take place?

[[Kalamazoo River oil spill
The Kalamazoo River oil spill occurred in July 2010 when a pipeline operated by Enbridge burst and flowed into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. A break in the pipeline resulted in one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history.Wikipedia
Location:Talmadge Creek and, Kalamazoo River, Calhoun County, near Marshall, Michigan
Cause:Ruptured pipeline
Operator:Enbridge Energy]]

OOOps!

Do you conservatives even take into account what your lack of oversight has done to this country? I don't think so.

It's about time you started paying for it. If you are GOP and you are willing to negate "rules, regulations and red tape"? IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR TALKING POINTS AND MOUTH IS! BACK UP WHAT YOU SAY WITH YOUR MONEY! Or at least insurance! You should be able to find an insurance company that is willing to BACK YOU UP, shouldn't ya? LOL! Good luck!

Michigan Observer
Sun, 11/10/2019 - 4:09pm

Is Middle of the Mitt aware that Enbridge paid 1.2 billion dollars to clean up the Kalamazoo spill? And that the same rules would require it "“to pay all costs for cleanup, restoration, and remediation.” in the event of a Line 5 rupture? That would seem to undercut Attorney General Nessel's claim that "In the event of a catastrophic oil spill, the people of the state of Michigan could be left holding the bag for more than a billion dollars in unfunded liability,”

middle of the mit
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:04pm

Were those the statistics given for the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

Tell me Matt, did you and your family vacation in the Gulf of Mexico during and after the Gulf oil spill? Did you eat any seafood from the Gulf of Mexico during or after the BP oil spill? Do you drink ANY water from the ground of ANY toxic superfund site in this State?

I have said it once and I will say it again, The MI GOP should be REQUIRED to have a fund set up for when they believe that their loosing of regulations will benefits business, that they are willing to fund FROM THE MI GOP to back up what bankrupt CORPORATIONS WILL LEAVE THE STATE TO CLEAN UP, to pay for said clean up.

What is wrong Matt and the MI GOP?

Are you not willing to put your money where your talking points are?

My bet? He double hockey sticks NO you aren't!

Jake
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 12:40pm

This argument would be more persuasive if it were only Enbridge that utilizes lobbying, public relations, and attorneys.

But the fact is that the environmental groups that oppose Line 5 engage in these same exact activities, none of which are inherently deceitful. The only difference is that Enbridge is a for-profit employer, while the environmental groups are ideological non-profits, although certainly very well-funded themselves.

So stick to the facts and not the same old rhetoric.

Jeff
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 1:17pm

That is exactly why an Attorney General's opinion should not be considered law. To the obviously uniformed, or she is ignoring the facts, author, the courts issued a decision under Governor Granholm that Line 5 could not be shut down by the state, period. Governor Whitmer recognized this and it is why she backed off on shutting it down. A.G. Nessel doesn't have the kind of foresight she will lose in her lawsuit due to precedent, instead choosing to waste a lot of money for nothing. I am not saying something shouldn't be done and should have been long ago. However wasting all of this damn time and money trying to overturn a Supreme Court opinion from 20 years ago is just prolonging any effort to begin construction on a tunnel. That being said, the state should make sure this tunnel is build so every contingency is planned for to prevent a leak. It can be done making the chance as close to zero as possible. It isn't hard nor does it take any special engineering as it has been done already. But everything trying to fight it is only delaying the inevitable. It should also be noted even if the Michigan Supreme Court over turned its decision, the federal government, federal courts and the Canadian government can all over rule it.

MLR
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 7:47am

I appreciate your comment and notice also that the more Enbridge makes us fixate on a tunnel, the less we are addressing with all due hast the current problem of the pipeline and its potential to devastate the Great Lakes with a near term accident.

holzwom
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 9:54am

I agree with you Jeff. The most likely outcome of this legal challenge is that Enbridge will retain their right to operate Line 5, and construction of the tunnel will be delayed. I also agree that the state has the obligation to make sure the risk is as close to zero as possible; and I believe that has been the case. What has not been addressed in this thread is the economic consequence of shutting down Line 5 permanently. The argument has been raised that there is no value to Michigan from the pipeline, and that Michigan takes the risk while Canada gets the benefit. Having heard, not from Enbridge, but from both Democrats (yes, check the position from some Northern Michigan Democrats) and Republicans who have researched the issue, the economic impact to Michigan would be great. The products carried by the pipeline might not be refined in Michigan, but the finished product comes back to Michigan as an essential part of our energy needs. The infrastructure (rail, truck, ship) to replace the pipeline simply does not exists, and would be prohibitively costly to build out. So, finding the right solution is necessary, and this legal track by A.G. Nessel is more a distraction than a solution.

duane
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 5:53pm

It is always interesting to hear from the 'wanters', the ones who really don't care about the rule of law and only want what they want and the way they want it.
In this case the author cares nothing about the legal fiduciary responsibilities of organizations have, doesn't care about agreements negotiated in good faith need to be legally binding, the social responsibility to the community.

The pipeline issues points out the worst side of the political divide that is growing in Michigan, the demand of those who only see it their way and will not engage in a conversation about the problem/issue, will not consider others' concerns, will belittle with personal attacks those who don't see everything their way.

When 'shut it down' is the only answer allowed then innovation, creation, evolution, collaboration even the ability to choose are prohibited. I have learned it is the diversity of perspectives in conversations where creativity grows and better answers are developed. Ms. Kirkwood shows only intolerance of differing perspectives, an unwillingness to listen, and only accepts what she wants.

I think Ms. Kirkwood's approach is probably a much greater financial risk for the State, but it is something that will not be discussed since she only sees it one way. The most disconcerting is that she is feeding the divide and preventing engagement of the public, which takes away hope that future issues will be answered for it will have to be her way or no way and problems will only get worst.

middle of the mit
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 8:38pm

You still don't believe gravity is anything more than magic. Why should anyone take anything you say seriously?

You come on here with the same 'ole same 'ole. " Perspective, and liberals only want things their way. If we could get eachothers perspective, maybe we could come to a conclusion, as long as that conclusion is the same as mine." But you still believe gravity is magic.

Did you vacation at and in the Gulf of Mexico during the BP oil spill? Did you eat seafood?

We are talking about pipelines that are nearing or beyond their life expectancy. In OUR Great Lakes. And you are still worried about business and contracts. What happens when that pipeline goes boom? All those businesses that rely on the Great Lakes and the people who get drinking water? They go boom!

Guess which one of those groups you back?

Gravity IS magic!

duane
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 8:51pm

middle,
It seems you prove the rule, you want it your way or no way. You don't like the science so you deny/ignore the science. Two noted scientific sources [Univ. of Illinois, NASA] post on their web sites "we do not know why gravity exists...” and "we do not know what gravity “is” in any fundamental way – we only know how it behaves. “, you ignore them. As for calling it 'magic', what would you call something we can't explain that controls all parts of our universe? 'The Force'? You have been and still are a denying science is dynamic and isn't omnificent.
The BP incident proves the preventability of such incidents, there were established protocols and individuals, not the technology, made choices that overrode protocols, even the glamourized movie version showed how people who had authority [a flaw in any top down structured organization such as government and BP] can fail. That is something that can be avoided in addressing the concerns with the pipeline, but only if there is an open conversation with a diversity of perspectives.
I am worried that only emotions drive the ‘wanters,‘my way or no way’, and that is killing conversations, feeding the ever widening divide, and is trying to kill imagination and diversity of ideas, and that in the end blocks growing abundance and improvement of lives.
Claiming to care for our 'drinking water’ makes me wonder how much you know about how we have it in such abundance, the risks that have been managed that ensures the water quality. I use to think I lived a sheltered life until I began reading articles and comments of the 'wanters', now I see how America’s success has sheltered them and crippled their thinking in the face of disagreement. The ‘wanters are a major barrier to innovation and hope for Michigan's future.
With your and Ms. Kirkwood true concern for protecting Michigan and the Great Lakes we could have and online risk assessment/risk management session here [if Bridge were willing] using long established, government recommended risk assessment/management protocol, we would include every possible cause of a catastrophic [that might create Ms. Kirkwood’s worst case scenario] pipeline failure and those that may cause damage and addressed them all.

Concise
Thu, 11/07/2019 - 8:45am

Face it, Enbridge is the biggest "WANTER". So you are just wrong.

duane
Sat, 11/09/2019 - 12:30am

Concise,

By all appearance Enbridge is offering to do something to address the concerns of others. It seems a shame to prevent their tangible efforts without describing why it won't work and see if there is a way to prevent what could cause the worst case scenario. The government {OSHA & EPA] has established regulations to address operations that are highly hazardous and much more severe conditions, why not see if that approach would work here?

TomLO
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 9:31am

Well thought and stated, Duane!

Bernadette
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 7:55pm

I find it curious, you of all people blame this "political divide" on "the other side". Laughable. This state has been dominated by your side for the last ten years with no interest in listening to "the other side". And by the way, you have dominated the government by illegal means (gerrymandering). I have worked in plenty organizations run by the "good ole' boys", and there was no room for any other ideas other than theirs.

As the flooding continues, the waters get poisoned, the fish die and corporations continue to pollute and the government no longer has the resources to respond to the disasters, you will still be saying there is no need for change. Solar, wind, and renewable resources are available today, can add jobs and create a new economy, but because you don't like how it will impact you, it is a non starter. Creativity, collaboration and dialogue are the skills needed for the future. You may consider learning a little about these skills.

duane
Thu, 11/07/2019 - 8:54pm

Bernadette,
What side, are you assuming for me? I am for conversations with a diversity of perspectives, I am for conversations in public, I am opposed to those who only want to hear those that say what they say. I strongly encourage those with differing views to express your view, explain how they came to that view, and share what results they want to achieve and how their views will lead to those results. I ask that people listen to what is said and share their views and reasoning for achieving similar results. In that way we can begin working on solving problems and issues that are used to make the divide deeper and wider.
If you are claiming my side is a particular Party, you would be wrong. As I have said many times before I was raised a ‘yellow dog’ Democrat, even Mr. Power would acknowledge that is consistent with my roots. I mention this to show that is what you want to be so, is not what is so. My voting in as many elections as I can recall has been to choose the lesser of disappointments regardless of Party.
Your claim that ‘gerrymandering’ is illegal shows how you only hear what you want to be said, the US Supreme Court, the arbiter of what is legal in America, has rule ‘gerrymandering’ a part of the political process and is legal. You may not like that, but that is the reality.
I think that it is foolish for any organization to discourage the competition of ideas. I agree organizations dominated by the ‘old boy’ network tend to discourage diversity of ideas, and even more disappointing all those there generally suffer as the organization falters from lack of change, lack of creativity.
I believe that change should be integral to our culture, that we should always be testing to see how we can change and improve. The best way to achieve this is open conversations that include a diversity of perspectives. I think such open conversations that identified all possible causes to #5 damage, that address each cause would do more to resolve the divide on this issue, and provide the most beneficial answer to all concerns.
What are your concerns, what do you think may cause a catastrophic failure the pipeline across the straights?
I have found that creativity, collaboration and dialogue aren't something for the future, but something that today’s abundance is built on, and will be necessary for our future.

Sorry
Thu, 11/07/2019 - 8:42am

Duane, or is it Matt? You lost your argument at "good faith". It's rare to hear a Republican act in good faith. The only one that comes to mind is John McCain saving Obamacare to the extent that he could, but one could argue that he only did so because he knew what something like cancer can do to his own family. Sadly, a lot of people become Democrats after they have seen how Republican policies adversely affect themselves or their families, like Brian Calley supporting autism programs because he has a child with autism. Stop and try to think of the greater good for all of Michigan. Stop making excuses for lying fake Christians like our president. It's a mockery and the majority of Americans see through it.

duane
Thu, 11/07/2019 - 9:07pm

Sorry,

I became agnostic about Party loyalty and Party dogma, when I left home and had to choose between how I was taught to live and the demands of Party loyalty. Even though the Democrats put greater demands for/of Party loyalty, the Republicans have done nothing as a Party to draw me in. I am not a Libertarian for I believe government has value though not a value in controlling our lives and choice.

You seem to want to hear something that I haven't said, I don't make excuses for other people's religious choices and actions, I am only responsible for my beliefs and choices, one of which is to believe in Christ.

MLR
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 8:02am

The most salient point of this article is that the current pipeline nor the tunnel is ours. It is convenient routing by Canada. The potential for irreparable harm to the major source of Michigan fresh water, a world ecological jewel, is too great. And especially so, since we should be environmentally weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. Enbridge’s deep pockets can distort, pervert and cloak facts to their financial benefit. Our ecological health is up against a Goliath of outsized influence and power. The time for the pipeline to be shut down is now. And the tunnel should not be built. In the case of a catastrophe, Enbridge may throw some money at the problem, but the ecological loss will be priceless. And only we will bear the true cost and burden of accommodating their ease.

John
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 9:04am

Need to define what would be the impact if the line failed. Minimal would be my opinion. This is based on reviews of past spills around the country.

Jim Kat
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 2:07pm

John are you for real? In open water with a strong current. Minimal would be my opinion really? Past spills mostly on land, Marshall was on a river and it was a mess. I do not think they are done there. So many spills heck they have no idea what to do if it leaks in the dead of winter.

Gary Lea
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:26am

Poking around, learning about Enbridge's delayed response to the Kalamazoo River spill and how they were fined and also ordered by the EPA to perform dredging operations, I believe that Liz Kirkwood presents plausible perceptions about the corporation Enbridge. As a senior citizen alive during interesting events (50 year anniversaries of moon landing and the Detroit River fire, the Master Settlement Agreement of major U.S. tobacco companies), I understand that prevention costs less than cleanup; apparently an alien concept to major corporations.

MLR
Wed, 11/06/2019 - 9:33pm

The most salient point of this article is that the current pipeline nor the tunnel is ours. It is convenient routing by Canada. The potential for irreparable harm to the major source of Michigan fresh water, a world ecological jewel, is too great. And especially so, since we should be environmentally weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. Enbridge’s deep pockets can distort, pervert and cloak facts to their financial benefit. Our ecological health is up against a Goliath of outsized influence and power. The time for the pipeline to be shut down is now. And the tunnel should not be built. In the case of a catastrophe, Enbridge may throw some money at the problem, but the ecological loss will be priceless. And only we will bear the true cost and burden of accommodating their ease.

Irene
Sat, 11/30/2019 - 10:00am

The track record of regular problems with existing infrastructure is concerning. Our regulators are mostly highly influenced by industry concerns and there is little true emphasis on returning disturbed environment to its previous condition. Fines may sound high to the average person but they are insufficient to make the industry invest in truly preventative measures. Instead, every decision is based on risk to the industry's short term bottom line and no permanent solutions are required to fund environmental repairs or landowner losses. Too often, company bankruptcy is used to avoid responsibility.

The gas/oil/extractive industry views environmental damage as its right. Its use of eminent domain and disregard for the impact of its infrastructure on landowners it forces to sacrifice their use of their land and their health and safety adds insult to injury. Landowners do not share the rewards of the activity, only the losses. "Mitigation" dollars don't get spent in affected communities, much less to balance landowner losses. Potential health and safety issues are assumed away, not studied and measured by unbiased entities. For example, methane losses are not even measured but considered an acceptable cost of doing business.

In a country where fair competition is supposed to be the basis of our economy and everyone who works hard is supposed to have an opportunity to work toward our own goals, it is difficult to accept the dominance of big business, especially non-domestic business. The cavalier industry attitude of its rights superseding those of all others and its purposeful blindness to the impact of its actions on others reinforce the problems. The playing field today is steeply tilted to advantage big business and against landowners, communities, and the environment.

It is time to reconsider the laws and regulations related to oil/gas/extractive industry so that fair balance is achieved among those affected, especially including the environment. While progress has been made since the 70's, recent changes/deregulation means we are now rapidly losing water and air quality and safety. Short term benefit needs to be weighed with long term systemic loss. The obligation to pass our resources to future generations so they have the opportunity for sustainable success remains.