Monday, August 01, 2016

Lon Johnson, 1st District U.S. Congressional candidate, challenges Casperson on Line 5 pipeline issue

First District Congressional Candidate Lon Johnson speaks at a Town Hall on Line 5, the aging pipeline under the Mackinac Straits. More than 100 concerned citizens attended the Town Hall, held last spring at Little Bear Arena Community Center in St. Ignace, Mich. (Photo courtesy Lon Johnson)

TRAVERSE CITY -- In his extensive campaign for U.S. Representative in Congress in Michigan's 1st District (including the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan), candidate Lon Johnson has given priority to the Line 5 pipeline issue, joining efforts by bipartisan elected officials -- national, state, tribal and local -- as well as communities and groups from unions to environmentalists, to shut down the 63-year-old Enbridge oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

In response to news that Michigan Congressional Rep. Candice Miller introduced legislation to shut down Line 5, Johnson released the following statement:
"I am glad to see that our efforts on the ground across the U.P. and Northern Michigan have resulted in bipartisan action on both the state and now the federal level. I have said for months that this 63-year-old Enbridge oil pipeline should be shut down at the Straits of Mackinac so it can be independently inspected to be safe. The impact on the health of our Great Lakes and on our economy in the event of an oil spill would be devastating.*

"While I’ve been calling for lawmakers to address the issue of Line 5 for months, it’s disappointing that Lansing politicians like Tom Casperson would rather defend a Canadian oil company than protect the health and jobs of the people of the U.P. and Northern Michigan. Maybe it’s the $28,000 in campaign donations Casperson has taken from oil and gas industry PACs that’s influencing his decision?"

When State Senator Casperson (R-Escanaba), who is a Republican Congressional candidate for Michigan's 1st District, defended Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline running through the Great Lakes in a speech on the Senate floor in Lansing, Johnson reacted to that speech saying, "Among many things Michiganders learned from the crisis in Flint was not to trust politicians in Lansing when they tell us not to worry about our water. Here we have in Tom Casperson yet another Lansing politician trying to shout down the protests of 29 mayors, communities, and townships in Michigan who are calling for the Line 5 pipeline to be inspected.

"Instead of listening to the people of the U.P. and Northern Michigan, Casperson takes to the Senate floor to defend a Canadian oil company, risking another Flint-level water crisis in the Great Lakes to protect the oil companies funding his campaign."

Johnson has been taking on Enbridge officials at numerous town halls in the U.P. and Northern Michigan, as well as helping local communities pass resolutions urging their elected leaders address the pipeline. Townships, local boards, and communities have passed resolutions.**

Congressional Candidate Lon Johnson addresses a large crowd during the May 7, 2016, Houghton County Democratic Party Spring Fling. The Houghton County Democratic Party has endorsed Lon Johnson as candidate for Congress.
(Photo courtesy Houghton County Democratic Party)

Johnson has summarized his position on the Line 5 Pipeline as follows: "I’ve said this consistently: 1) Shut down the Line 5 oil pipeline at the Mackinac Straits; 2) Independently verify if it’s safe; and 3) Work with the Governor’s task force to seek alternatives to this pipeline."

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 2, local voters will decide through the State Primary Election which of the following candidates will lead their party in the race for the Michigan 1st District U.S. Congressional Representative in Congress, the seat now held by Congressman Dan Benishek, who is retiring.

Johnson will face Democrat Jerry Cannon, a retired general from Kalkaska, while Casperson will run against two other Republicans, Jason Allen of Traverse City, and Jack Bergman of Watersmeet Township. In the State Primary Election voters must vote for one party only.****

* Click here to see Lon Johnson's YouTube video on why Line 5 should be shut down.

** See the list of communities that have passed resolutions here.

*** See our Apr. 28, 2016, article, "Candidate Lon Johnson to Houghton County Dems: Shut down Line 5, protect fresh water, more ...," including an interview with Johnson during his April 2016 visit with Houghton County Democrats.

**** See our right-hand column for helpful voting information. Click here to see the long list of Lon Johnson supporters.

No comments: