Enbridge Energy is replacing one of its pipelines that runs through lower Michigan. They’re replacing Line 6B. It’s the same pipeline that broke in Marshall two years ago. The new pipeline will allow Enbridge to double the amount of oil they can transport to refineries in Detroit, Toledo and Sarnia, Ontario.
To build the pipeline, the company says it needs additional easement next to the current 60 foot easement that runs through many people’s backyards.
Enbridge says many people who own land along the pipeline route have signed contracts with the company. But Enbridge is taking people who refuse to sign contracts to court.
In a courthouse in Howell yesterday, a judge heard arguments against more than a dozen landowners. (Some of the cases were settled yesterday afternoon, involving the Munsell farming family. The settlement requires Enbridge to stay within the existing 60 foot easement on the Munsell's property, but does allow Enbridge to temporarily use additional land as workspace for the new pipeline.)
Connie Watson and her husband Tom are among the defendants.
"Enbridge has taken us to condemnation. Eminent domain is another word for it. And because we wouldn’t sign their contract as it was, they brought us to court to take the land."
The Watsons say they’re frustrated with Enbridge because of experiences they’ve had with the company in the past.