Enbridge and Aquila


The Aug. 17-18 edition of the Daily Press with its front-page story, “Enbridge responds to AG on pipeline,” has remained on my desk as I’ve given thought to making comment on it. The challenge is to find one thing I can say that puts Enbridge in a positive light as it strategizes communications to convince citizens that it can ensure the safety of our Great Lakes with pipeline construction beneath our precious, life-sustaining water. Such construction should never have happened in the first place, but here we are with a looming environmental disaster on our hands and in our water as we talk about doing still more. What are we thinking? Line 5 needs to be put out of service, safely sealed for eternity, and any new construction done on land where it can be more quickly monitored and safely maintained.

Every single one of us should be horrified about any near or in water construction. And, we should be equally as horrified that another Canadian company, Aquila Resources, has been given permission to poison the Menominee River and surrounding land in Menominee County.

I live within five miles of the Kalamazoo River in Calhoun County, where, in July 2010, millions of gallons of poisonous oil poured into the Kalamazoo River before Enbridge took action. Enbridge claims the river is cleaner now than before the “accident.” Communications strategy? “Word-spinning” is not truth-telling.

I grew up in Menominee County, near where Aquila has been given permission to poison the beautiful Menominee River and Indian land with its mine to harvest minerals that we will waste and then relegate to landfills one day one way or another. The shock of it is beyond comprehension but to know our own environmental protection officials have grave concerns and still approve permits? Reprehensible.

There are four points I would make. One, do not trust the words of these companies. Judge them by their actions. What is their track record for safety and honesty? Two, what are our own personal responsibilities and actions when it comes to protecting our land and water and making wise use of resources? Three, when there are environmental disasters, companies claim to “clean them up.” But what is “up”? To relocate poison to someone else’s backyard? And four, these companies promote good-paying jobs when enticing the local citizenry to support them. There will be short-term jobs. But there will be longer-term jobs most of which these companies will not take responsibility for — jobs dealing with contamination that will inevitably come.

Our earth can no longer heal itself from the harm done by the worst invasive species, humankind.

Jan Corey Arnett

Battle Creek, Mich.