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Investor group wants Enbridge board to examine whether company is taking unnecessary business risks

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
A billboard size sign at an Enbridge facility in Michigan's Upper Peninsula near where the 70 year old Line 5 petroleum pipeline enters the Straits of Mackinac which connects Lakes Michigan and Huron.

A group of Enbridge Energy investors wants the company’s Board of Directors to investigate Enbridge’s political activities.

It’s not uncommon for an activist group to buy shares of a company to bring attention to its concerns. Investors for Paris Compliance (I4PC) has made a shareholder proposal to examine what it calls extensive use of "political front groups" and political donations to fossil-fuel supporting politicians in the U.S.

I4PC noted the Michigan government’s strong opposition to the Enbridge's Line 5 petroleum pipeline and the civil disobedience by protestors in Minnesota against Line 3.

"Enbridge's pattern of lobbying and political expenditures in the U.S. is causing significant controversy and creating business risk associated with alienation of decision makers and key constituencies while appearing to be unaligned with its goal to achieve net zero [greenhouse gas emissions]. This pattern and lack of disclosure merits due consideration and oversight by the Enbridge Board," the investors group said in a statement.

The Board of Directors of Enbridge is recommending shareholders vote against the shareholder proposal. It says Enbridge’s political and policy activities support its business strategy and they are legal.

The board stated in its response to the proposal that the the proponent "is not simply seeking more climate related lobbying information from the company for the benefit of shareholders. On the contrary, its submission is based on disputed facts and is covertly aimed at changing and directing our climate-lobbying policies and practices without due consideration of our strategy and business risk."

It adds that Enbridge supports the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, but might not support all of the associated policy decisions.

Enbridge Energy is among Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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