Pipeline Fight Update from Wisconsin

By Patricia (PK) Hammel, NLG Madison

Madison NLG attorney Patricia (PK) Hammel is currently representing seven landowners from Dane County, Wisconsin who sued Enbridge Energy to enforce a pollution insurance requirement the county put into Enbridge’s conditional use permit. The landowners and county won in the state Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court took Enbridge’s appeal. Oral arguments are set for March 26. Anishinabe/Ojibwe jingle dancers will be at the Capitol prior to the argument.

Enbridge has tripled the flow of Canadian tar sands oil through its ten year old Line 61 pipeline, which starts where Line 3 ends in Superior Wisconsin after crossing the Minnesota border.

In 2018 PK worked with NLG attorneys John Bachman of Eau Claire Wisconsin and Ralph Hurvitz of Seattle to represent six water protectors who locked onto Enbridge’s Line 3 construction in northwestern Wisconsin. Most of the defendants, including members of the Ojibwe, Navajo and Dakota nations were convicted following two jury trials in Douglas County. The judges refused to allow a coercion defense (Wisconsin has no “necessity” defense) or a University of Wisconsin climate expert to testify. Two defendants were ordered to pay over $40,000 of “restitution” to Enbridge for halting construction on four days in 2017.

PK and Ralph met in Bismarck, ND. in December 2016 as members of the Water Protector Legal Collective, and John defended people arrested at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in 2008. ■