(About 100 people showed up to Enbridge’s stakeholders meeting in Calgary Thursday. Photo: Tamara Pimentel/APTN)
APTN National News
A black snake was held high above the heads of water protectors as they held a rally outside a convention centre in downtown Calgary Thursday where Enbridge Inc. held its annual shareholder meeting.
They want Enbridge to pull out from the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
“As soon as they put dogs on our people I called Enbridge,” said activist and water protector Winona LaDuke who has been asking Enbridge to pull out of this project for four years.
“I said ‘you can stop them, you have 28 percent.’ And they did nothing. They are 28 percent of the tanks, 28 percent of the bullets and 28 percent of the injuries.”
At a news conference after the meeting, Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said they considered all kinds of alternatives as altercations got worse at Standing Rock – but the violence wasn’t enough to take them out of the deal.
“We were concerned just like everybody else,” said Monaco. “It’s hard not to be concerned when you see the images. So that caused us to go back and re-think it. And we did. And we were satisfied.”
While Enbridge won’t pull out of the Standing Rock project, Monaco did commit to being more transparent on a number of pipelines coming up in Canada.
He said it will increase disclosure on how it factors in Indigenous and environmental issues when making acquisitions, despite shareholders voting about two-thirds against a resolution calling for just that on Thursday.
“We thought, and still do, that the idea of providing more information on our approach to investments and acquisitions was a very good one,” said Monaco at the company’s annual general meeting.
He said the company would add the information to its corporate social responsibility reporting as part of the company’s efforts to be more transparent.
“Whether it’s a green party, whether it’s a community, or any other constituency or stakeholder, our job is to make sure they understand our approach to the business,” said Monaco.
His comments come as the pipeline operator looks to advance about $28 billion worth of projects, with some of the largest ones still requiring U.S. regulatory approvals.
The Line 3 replacement pipeline, which received Canadian approval last year, is awaiting a draft environmental impact statement from Minnesota, where it has faced significant opposition. A court challenge from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs also must be resolved before construction begins in that province.
The project stretches 1,660 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wisc., and at $8.5-billion is the largest project in the company’s history.
Enbridge also closed its acquisition of a 27.6 per cent interest in the Bakken Pipeline System for US$1.5 billion, which includes the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline, during the quarter.
It was the acquisition of that pipeline which prompted the shareholder resolution on acquisitions, but Monaco said the company still thought it a sound investment despite the opposition and protests that flared up last fall.
“It was hard to miss what was going on out there, and we were very concerned about it. Frankly, we spent a lot of time pondering this issue given the circumstances,” he said.
Monaco said he feels “good about the fact that Enbridge has very strong relationships with Indigenous people.”
Chad Harrison of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe attended the meeting in hopes to bring more awareness to Enbridge about what their concerns are.
“The protest and movement probably could have been avoided had there been more communication on the front end, more transparency,” said Harrison. “The fact that we got a little over 30 percent of
the vote says that are are some socially conscious people out there.”
-with files from the Canadian Press