Madison, Wis – Farmers, union workers, papermakers, small businesses and even a bait shop were part of the diverse voices from across the Badger State who have weighed in to support the Line 5 pipeline relocation project in northern Wisconsin. Last Friday, April 15, marked the end of a four-month-long public comment period held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the Line 5 Wisconsin Segment Relocation project.
While final numbers will not be known until all comments are posted to the DNR’s project website, comments submitted to the DNR between the public comment periods opening on December 16th until February 28th saw supporters outnumbing opposition to the project by a 3 to 1 margin. When only those who identified as living from Wisconsin were counted, support for the project jumped to over 80 percent.
The Wisconsin Jobs and Energy Coalition, which supports the Line 5 project, consists of 35 diverse organizations that are not typically on the same side of issues. WJE members range from labor unions, including the Laborers and the Operating Engineers, to agriculture groups, including the Cooperative Network and the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. WJE also includes small business organizations like the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and Wisconsin Independent Businesses.
Here is a small sample of what coalition members had to say in their comments to the Wisconsin DNR:
“The product transported on Line 5 ensures a consistent and adequate supply for the many functions our farmers rely on to run their farms and get products to market.”
“Our 14 member-trade unions represent 40,000 tradesmen and women who come from every corner of Wisconsin. We are optimistic that the construction of the Line 5 relocation will help spur economic opportunities by creating jobs for these tradespersons. It also will provide a significant economic boost to the state and to our northern Wisconsin communities through other economic activities associated with the construction such as jobs in hospitality, retail, and healthcare. This translates roughly into 700 family-sustaining construction jobs and will add $135 million in direct and indirect economic activity.”
“To stop Line 5, a vital source of energy for the entire region, would be harmful to our members, their employees and the industry. Permitting this project will help ensure a reliable, predictable, affordable energy resource our members rely on every day.”
“Line 5 is a critical component to ensuring the availability of an ample, consistent, and financially viable energy sources for GLTPA’s members to operate and conduct business throughout Wisconsin and the region. Like everyone else in this area, GLTPA members uses propane to heat their homes and fuel to power their equipment, cars, trucks and even their lawnmowers.”
“The importance of being able to secure reliable pipeline products ensures our members will remain competitive in delivering their services to their customers. The reroute of Line 5 makes it possible for our members and our communities to continue access to a local and regional energy network that benefits both the economy and financial well-being of our communities.”