OLIVET, Mich. (WLNS) — Farm owners in Olivet are taking a stand against the installment of a gas pipeline by chaining themselves to construction vehicles.
“I grabbed a couple of long chains this morning, I says we are going down and hooking on to the machinery,” said Richard Midlam, the co-trustee of Midlam Family Farms.
Lisa Midlam and her brother Richard are fighting back on their farm in Olivet, after they noticed construction crews prepping the outskirts of their property for the installment of a gas pipeline.
On Tuesday morning, both Lisa and Richard chained themselves to some of the construction vehicles that were left overnight, hoping to get in contact with the pipeline owners, Michigan Gas Utility.
“Yesterday they just came on to our property for the first time in the afternoon, and they bush hogged some of this brush where we are standing and mowed down part of a corn field, and we decided now is the time to do something,” said Richard.
While the pipeline construction has been approved by Michigan Public Service Commission, MGU hopes to move beyond this standstill.
“You know, we are still very open to working with these land owners to move beyond this situation today, we really just want to get moving on the project, that’s our only outcome,” said Brendon Conway, a spokesperson for Michigan Gas Utility.
The Midlams say the pipeline will greatly affect the property values of the adjacent houses and have even worked on their own proposal for where the pipeline should run instead.
But Michigan Gas Utility said the time for public input had already passed.
“We followed state law, we went to court, the court looks at all of these things. And they allowed us to move forward with the project,” continued Conway.
The farmers hope to talk with MGU to find some common grounds.
“They have a good option that is a win-win for both sides,” said Lisa Midlam. “Let us join together to do the right thing.”