Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featuring...OU Professor Jeff Insko and his Enbridge Pipeline Blog!

I had the good fortune in my graduate school days to take two classes with the estimable Professor Jeff Insko of Oakland University. In the years since my graduation, we have stayed in touch, and I have been to his house on at least two occasions for casual get-togethers with other OU faculty and alums.

A few years ago, Jeff and his wife Katy threw a barbecue to, sadly, mark the end of their property as they knew it. This Detroit Free Press article explains:

     Jeff Insko, an Oakland County resident, writes a Line 6B Internet blog for affected property owners to share experiences and information. He said stories like the Gallaghers’ are similar among many of the 1,300 affected property owners along the Enbridge line in southern Michigan, which stretches from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.
     Insko’s home in Oakland County’s Groveland Township was part of Enbridge’s Phase 1 of the Line 6B project last fall. The work to restore his property is not yet complete some nine months later, he said.
     “We’ve never objected to the replacement of Line 6B; it’s a 40-year-old pipe,” he said. “It’s how they’ve gone about replacing it. They have run roughshod over the state of Michigan.”
     Enbridge removed a grove of 105 trees on Insko’s land, including some very mature ones, he said.
     “The value of a 50-foot spruce tree ... to us it’s invaluable,” he said. “That’s why we bought the property.”
     Through the blog, homeowners have learned compensation levels have varied among similar parcels, leading to accusations of unfair and inconsistent treatment by Enbridge, Insko said.

See for the article in its entirety.

For a man who teaches the Transcendentalists with passion and gusto, it was impossible for Jeff to stand by and just passively accept the destruction of not only his land, but the land of his neighbors and hundreds, maybe thousands of homeowners stringing from Canada to Indiana. So on June 27, 2012, Jeff launched Line 6B Citizens' Blog with a sense of purpose and connection: "We hope this blog will provide a place for concerned residents to swap stories and share resources in the hopes of keeping Enbridge honest. Or, if nothing else, it can be a place to vent as we all watch large chunks of our property get torn apart."

You can find Jeff's blog at

Jeff has done the impossible; he has taken on a giant corporation, united homeowners across hundreds of miles between two countries, and mounted an all-out effort to hold Enbridge accountable for their work, their broken promises, and their lies. He's done dozens of interviews for local and national media outlets and has managed to continue teaching, researching, writing, traveling, and grading on top of his activism for this cause. He's also managed to get his dog, Samuel Jenkins, into the action:

Jeff and Katy provide resources for homeowners affected by the pipeline work, and they've traveled all over the country to speak out against Enbridge's practices, even working with the National Wildlife Federation to address regulators and legislators about the very real environmental danger Enbridge's work poses. See

The NWF post offers readers an opportunity to take action: "Enbridge is proposing to nearly double the amount of tar sands oil moving through the Alberta Clipper pipeline, increasing the risk and size of a spill that would put wood turtles and their waters in danger. Ask the State Department to say no to Enbridge’s tar sands expansion plans."

Jeff has the kind of ethos as a well-respected OU professor that makes him believable, credible, approachable, and trustworthy. His meticulous research (his logos) is impeccable; he is as fussy about the details of his blog as he is about his published academic works. As far as pathos goes, it doesn't get more heartbreaking than Samuel Jenkins looking forlornly down a torn up trench in his own backyard. Jeff's neighbors - many of them elderly - tell similar sad tales in the forum he has set up for them. It is impossible not to be moved by the destruction of their homes and property.

Jeff and Katy may not win against Enbridge, but they aren't going down without a fight.

1 comment:

  1. Engaging story; thanks for sharing. Professor Insko has been fighting the fight for a long time.