Madison, Wis – A diverse coalition consisting of union workers, farmers, small business owners and forest products companies is showing strong support for a pipeline project in northern Wisconsin that is the subject of a public hearing being held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources later today.
The coalition, known as the Wisconsin Jobs and Energy Coalition, announced that supporters of the Enbridge Line 5 relocation project have already submitted over 3,800 comments to the Wisconsin DNR in favor of approving the necessary permits to move the project forward.
“Wisconsin’s workers and families are speaking loud and clear that they support the Line 5 relocation project because it will lead to hundreds of union jobs, millions in additional tax revenue for our communities and access to the gas, diesel and propane that Wisconsinites depend on to get to work and heat their homes,” said John Schmitt, President and Business Manager of the Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council.
The Wisconsin DNR released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 relocation on December 16th, beginning the public comment period. Initiated at the request of a Wisconsin tribe, the $450 million, 41-mile long pipeline project seeks to continue the operation of this vital energy corridor. Moving about 540,000 barrels of crude oil and natural gas liquids a day, Line 5 is a critical part of the Upper Midwest’s gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and propane infrastructure.
“Farmers depend on reliable sources of energy to operate their equipment, harvest their crops, care for their livestock, and heat their homes and farms,” said Keith Ripp, Executive Director of Governmental Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “Removing Line 5 from operation would send waves through our regional propane and fuel supply, undoubtably leading to shortages and price increases farmers simply can’t afford.”
“Wisconsin’s papermakers and forest products companies couldn’t survive without access to reliable and affordable energy,” said Scott Suder, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council. “Pipelines like Line 5 not only safely and reliably move energy to where it’s needed, they free up capacity for trucks and trains to move other goods like paper products.”
In addition to being part of the state’s critical energy infrastructure, an independent economic impact study estimated the Line 5 relocation project would add $135 million to Wisconsin’s economic output, increase state tax revenues by millions and support more than 1,000 jobs in the State of Wisconsin. Enbridge has signed a letter of intent with Wisconsin-based Michels Pipeline, Inc. as the mainline contractor for the project. The company is also pledging more than 10 percent of the total budget ($46 million dollars) will be spent specifically with Native owned businesses, including the training and hiring of tribal members.
Organizations planning to participate in the public hearing to support the project include: Wisconsin Propane Gas Association, APEX, Futurewood, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, Johnson Timber, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, UA Local 11, Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Independent Businesses, Wisconsin Paper Council, Hawk Industries, Wisconsin Building Trades Council, Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council, Michels, Wisconsin Pipe Trades, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Operating Engineers Local 139, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Midwest Food Processors Association and Construction Business Group.