Enbridge is becoming a toxic brand

Enbridge’s brand is losing its luster.

The Cloquet City Council rejected a $1,000 donation from Enbridge. Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar recently announced she would return donations she received from an Enbridge employee. Enbridge faces other legal and safety challenges.

[Update: The Cloquet City Council reconsidered the vote. It accepted Enbridge’s donation.]

Cloquet City Councilmember Sheila Lamb

The Enbridge Mainline System has several aging crude oil pipelines through northern Minnesota. It wants to replace Line 3, the one in the worst condition, with a larger pipeline through a new corridor. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the project, but the more people learn about it, the stronger opposition has become.

Enbridge has been making donations to various northern Minnesota communities in an apparent effort to buy some good will. On Aug. 7, the Cloquet City Council voted to reject a $1,000 donation from Enbridge to support Cloquet’s National Night Out events. Council member Sheila Lamb made the motion to reject the donation, which passed 4-3.

Lamb is Anishinaabe and works with women and young people who have been trafficked. She is an active Line 3 opponent. She has spoken forcefully about the link between large construction projects such as Enbridge Line 3 — and the influx of out-of-state workers they attract — and sex trafficking.  “I would like our city council to join me in saying ‘No’ to any industry of any type that has a link to sex trafficking,” she said during the Aug. 7 council meeting.

Enbridge also has not been a good corporate neighbor, Lamb reminded the council. Enbridge sued several Minnesota counties over its property tax bill. In the case of Carlton County, it means reimbursing Enbridge for approximately $750,000 in what now are considered overpayments.

“That money will have to come from somewhere,” Lamb said. “It can affect our property taxes and [it] can definitely affect the services of our schools — again, affecting our children.”

Duluth News Tribune story here.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)

In other developments, Sen. Klobuchar announced she would return contributions to her 2020 presidential campaign from Enbridge employees. A July 31 City Pages article reported that Enbridge employees have “given a little over $8,000 to two candidates: sitting President Donald Trump and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.”

“The donations to Trump didn’t surprise me,” [Public Accountability Analyst Derek] Seidman says. “But the donations to Klobuchar did.” In fact, the bulk of that total—some $5,600—went to the Minnesota senator’s fundraising group, Amy for America. All of it came from a single individual donor, Robert Kratsch, who is listed as a project manager for Enbridge.

(For more background, see our earlier blog: Minnesota needs state leaders to get off the fence and show courage and leadership to stop Line 3.)

In other Enbridge news, the company faces legal challenges, safety problems.:

The Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin is suing Enbridge to stop operating Line 3 across their lands. According to a July 25 story in Inside Climate News:

Driven by fears of rapid erosion that threatens to expose a crude oil pipeline to rushing water, a Native American tribe is suing pipeline giant Enbridge to force it to remove an aging pipeline whose easement through the reservation has expired.

An article in Reuters that same day said Enbridge is considering a pipeline reroute off of the Bad River Band’s land.

The 540,000 barrels-per-day pipeline ferries crude and propane from Alberta to refineries in the Midwest and Ontario. It is a critical part of Enbridge’s Mainline network, which delivers the bulk of Canadian oil exports to the United States….

Line 5 also faces a court battle in Michigan, where the state filed a lawsuit last month asking for the decommissioning of an underwater section of the pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes.

Enbridge natural gas pipeline explosion in Kentucky kills one, injures five: According to An Aug. 1 MSN story:

The explosion in Kentucky is not the first Enbridge incident this year. In January, an Enbridge natural gas pipeline on the same system exploded in Ohio, igniting a fireball that injured two people and damaged homes. In November 2018, a ruptured Enbridge natural gas pipeline ignited a fire that evacuated part of a First Nations territory in British Columbia, Canada.

In what could be an omen for Enbridge’s future, Bloomberg reports that: Big Money Starts to Dump Stocks That Pose Climate Risks.

The article discusses how London-based LGIM, which is a top-20 Exxon shareholder, tried to talk to the company about things it could do to address climate change. When Exxon wasn’t responsive, LGIM divested of $300 million in stock, and announced it “would use its remaining stake to vote against the reappointment of Exxon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods.”

The Line 3 environmental impact statement said that the proposed Line 3 would translate into $287 billion in climate damage over three decades, a fact the PUC ignored. Let’s hope Enbridge investors don’t.

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