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Posted on Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

More questions must be asked before companies are allowed to act in own interests

By Letters to the Editor


An orange ribbon, shown here Wednesday, indicates where Enbridge Pipelines Toledo Inc. is planning to bury a new crude oil pipeline four feet underground in the middle of the Bradley family's back yard in Lyndon Township in the northwest corner of Washtenaw County. The pipeline will be buried in an easement owned by a power company that the family leases.

Melanie Maxwell |

In response to your article "As Enbridge crude oil pipeline project moves forward, family prepares for loss of their yard" in Sunday's newspaper, I empathize with the Bradley family as the foreign company Enbridge will be destroying their land for the expansion of their tar sands pipeline network that extends throughout the country.

As the age of easily accessible and abundant oil comes to a close, greedy corporations seeking to maintain the oil-based status quo on which their massive and unwarranted profits are built have resorted to tar sands projects, the largest of which is in Alberta, Canada.

Enbridge is one of these Canadian companies that is exploiting and annihilating a region in Alberta larger than the size of Florida, turning it into a wasteland — toxic and uninhabitable. This viscous oil-containing tar is sent through a network of pipelines, to be refined using fracked natural gas and immense amounts of water, releasing three times as much carbon dioxide as conventional oil and putting communities at risk of massive, incurable spills due to the substance's corrosive nature. Focused only on their bottom line, Enbridge uses their network of pipelines to ship oil overseas, while convincing the public that these projects will bring the nation energy security.

The land and water on which we all rely are not the only victims of this greed-driven onslaught; landowners and refining communities become collateral damage. Abuses of eminent domain law have forced individuals to surrender their land to inevitable destruction at the hands of heartless bullying tar sands-profiting corporations such as Enbridge.

Families who have a rich history on their property have seen their land ripped apart in front of their very own eyes in less than 24 hours, as giant machines stomp and cut their way through forest, wetland, and stream alike — leaving nothing but scraps and aggravated soil in their wake.

Tar sands oil production is full of devastation at every turn of its life-cycle. In an oil-thirsty world, it may seem this devastation is unavoidable, but we must demand better than this. This is our land, our water, and our livelihoods that are being unconscionably decimated for short-term profit. Is this really the best that America can do? When will we demand better for our nation, our land, and ourselves?

If we do not begin to question the motives of these companies who repeatedly have acted in their own interest, treating everything else as expendable, then in just a few short years when the allure of money has faded, all we will have left is toxified land, destroyed history, and poisoned water. What will be our legacy?

Chloe E. Gleichman



Michigan Man

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

Very foolish article. All companies act in the best interest of the market. Market demand is how companies thrive, grow and prosper. Most companies view these Ann Arbor types self-appointed, amateur do-gooders as really nothing more than gadflys without a mission- Please get west of Zeeb Road and experience the real America.

Ron Granger

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

"The July 2010 oil spill near Marshall, Mich., though little-known by the public, was widely considered one of the worst inland oil spills in U.S. history. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board has released the results of a two-year investigation into the spill -- and Enbridge Energy Partners takes it on the chin." "On the same day that Enbridge told its investors that its tar sands spill and cleanup had made the Kalamazoo River cleaner, EPA ordered the Canadian tar sands pipeline company to resume its cleanup of the Kalamazoo River after finding that submerged oil "exists throughout approximately 38 miles of the Kalamazoo." EPA's findings, based on technical analysis from prominent scientists from the international oil spill response and recovery community, stand in stark contrast with the alternate reality that Enbridge is selling to investors and the public. Enbridge's legacy in Kalamazoo was outlined by federal investigators as a company whose poor safety practices and failures to learn from past mistakes which resulted in the most expensive onshore pipeline disaster in U.S. history." "GRAND MARSH, Wis., July 29 (Reuters) - Canada's Enbridge Inc prepared on Sunday to replace part of a pipeline that leaked more than 1,000 barrels of oil in a Wisconsin field, shutting down a key conduit from Canada and provoking fresh ire from Washington. The spill on Friday is the latest in a series of incidents that threaten to damage the reputation of a company that launched its most ambitious expansion program ever just two months ago. It came almost two years to the day after a ruptured Enbridge line fouled part of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan."


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

It's rather curious that to this writer and to some others who share her point of view, 'acting in [one's] own interests' is unthinkingly assumed to be bad. In whose interests should one act? Even if we accept the unstated premise that one shouldn't act exclusively in one's own interest, why should we assume that one entity's interests are necessarily at odds with the interests of others? I presume that she'd think the interests of, say, a solar panel-producing company were in harmony with hers (which might or might not be true, since that's a pretty dirty technology, despite the 'green-ness' of its end product), but ultimately, such a company makes decisions on the basis of what's good for its overall financial picture, just as the company she condemns in her opinion piece does. If it fails to do so, it goes bankrupt (think Solyndra), with many attendant costs (for example, who pays to clean up the former manufacturing site, if necessary?). No one wants a pipeline in the back yard, granted, but all of us benefit from the supply of oil, directly or directly--particularly when it comes from a source that isn't hostile to us. Ms. Gleichman seems rather reflexive in her characterization of Enbridge as 'greedy' and her dismissal of self-interest--at least, enlightened self-interest--as a legitimate basis for ethical decisions. She demands that we 'begin to question the motives' of unspecified companies. Fine, but question the motives of those who demonize them, too, and really listen to the answers both parties give, rather than assuming that you already know what they are.


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Chloe you seem to be upset with a company using land they have the rights to. The family moved into a house just because it had a big yard they could use without buying or paying taxes on. It was great for the family until the person who owned it decided to use it. In a couple months after spring starts the yard will look as it did before the construction. What about the septic tanks most folks use, that is worse for the water we drink than a pipeline in the ground. I wish I got paid to piss people off and cry wolf, you should talk about how congress is ruining us all. Not a company lowering gas prices.

Silly Sally

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

Do ya'll know that Enbridge has a big pipeline just south of Ann Arbor, northe of Saline? It runs 1/4 mile north of Textile and parallel to Textile. The easement looks like that of large power linew, but there are no power lines. They keep a 50 foot wide clear-cut, 25 feet on each side of the buried pipe, so that an airplane can visually inspect it twice a week. It, too, crosses the backyards of homes, and Lohr Rd. It is better than moving oil by rail, truck, or ship. What government should do is have laws that require shut-off valves every mile or so to contain a spill and such, but otherwise, we need pipelines

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

It's tough living in Saline without participating in the devastation of the environment. What with driving the gas-guzzling SUV to your job in some far-off metro Detroit suburb, heating your home with fossil fuel, and running up the electric bill on the home computer, DVR, and big screen TV. Perhaps you eat meat, run air conditioning in the summer, water your lawn, wash your clothes in detergent, and drink bottled water. Some legacy.


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

The heavy oil that the Enbridge pipeline brings from Canada (an allied government) is intended to compete with the heavy oil from Venezuela (a hostile government) brought by tanker through the Gulf of Mexico. There have been pipeline spills and there have been tanker spills. The tanker spills do far more environmental damage. Unless you can pass laws to ban this oil, which Congress is not in the mood to do, those are the choices.


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

So tell us how you exist, Chloe. I'll bet you consume more than you produce. And exhaust mor than you intake. How can you justify the use of dangerous x-ray producing electrons traversing the wires and airwaves of the ether based internet to produce this message ? Sunspots resulting from your south facing domicile are reeking havoc on the upper stratosphere. Is that not your legacy ?

Steven Taylor

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

Until you can power a juggernaut like the american automobile, and growing economies in places like China and keeping the system running here in the states, tar sands oil, fracking etc should and will likely continue. Evil oil companies and all because solar energy, wind power, battery technology is simply not as effective as the 100+ year old tech that is the internal combustion engine. Until you can power your Prius on unicorn farts and spotted owl guano. It's not gonna change. Or you build a working Mr. Fusion for my DeLorean.

Linda Peck

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

Whoever owns the land, it will now be ruined.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

Ann Arbor and the U of M have "ruined" a lot of land too. Maybe we should just stop procreating, driving cars, using electricity, gas, and coal altogether Linda. I'm sure it wouldn't affect your daily routine at all.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 4:53 a.m.

It already has an oil pipeline and a high voltage transmission line on it. Not much to ruin there, either overhead or underground.

Boo Radley

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

Sorry, you kind of lost me in the first paragraph. "...I empathize with the Bradley family as the foreign company Enbridge will be destroying their land ..." According to the original article, it is not their land.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

Facts are sparse when dealing with Sierra Club puppets.