County Passes Resolution to Protect Residents From Eminent Domain
By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Wood Co. Board Supervisors voted to pass a resolution that ultimately protects citizens’ property from eminent domain on Tuesday morning.
The resolution was set in place by a group called 80 Feet is Enough, whose goal is to reduce the influence of oil pipeline companies, more notably, the Calgary based firm Enbridge Inc. Contained in the resolution is the call for state legislature to to restrict eminent domain by for-profit oil pipeline companies.
Eminent domain is the procurement of private land for public use — in this case, Enbridge had previously acquired Borchardt’s land for use of four current pipelines that run through Wood County. The name ’80 Feet is Enough’ represents the 80-foot wide and 300 mile length run of the Enbridge pipeline through Wisconsin neighborhoods, businesses, and land.
“This is a massive move forward to reform property rights in this state,” said 80 Feet is Enough Organizer Mark Borchardt. “Right now throughout the country, state by state, there’s this eminent domain law that allows the forcible taking of someone’s property for private companies.”
It is now up to the state legislature and Governor Scott Walker for further action on the resolution. Below is an excerpt from the passed resolution:
Now, therefore the Wood County Board of Supervisors Hereby Resolves to express their desire to the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor to reform eminent domain laws to protect the property rights of Wisconsin citizens and prohibit the state from granting the power of eminent domain to for-profit oil pipeline companies.
Be it further resolved, that a copy of this resolution be sent to Governor Scott Walker, all Wood County’s State Senators and Assembly Representatives, to the Public Service Commissioners, and to the Wisconsin Counties Association.
A representative from Enbridge could not be reached at the time of this publication.
“The original purpose for eminent domain is for public use — like a highway; not for an oil pipeline that passes through Wisconsin,” said Borchhardt. “This resolution takes a step forward in fixing that.”
For more information on the group 80 Feet is Enough, please visit http://80feetisenough.org/