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Mike Williams, Coos County

Mike moved back to Coos County to take care of his mother. He lives on an family-owned property parcel in a house he built himself from mostly salvaged materials. Pembina wants to run the pipeline near his house and use his property as a staging area. If this were to happen, his house would be removed.

A Proud Heritage

I’ve looked up my genealogy and my ancestors. In 1759 they came into the United States and they were Quakers. They were patriots for helping people, not because they fought. I followed it all the way through the Underground Railroad and Levi Coffin—my great great great grandad’s next-door neighbor. I don’t think they’d agree with a Canadian company using eminent domain against American citizens.

Risk and danger

I put my septic in—I’m probably one of the last ones who will do it by themselves. DEQ would only let me dig down 24 inches. They said any further than that and I would disturb the aquifer. Now in the same exact spot, how can they let them go down nine feet?

Mom talks to them on the phone once in a while. She says to them, they ruined a well when they came through with a smaller pipeline. If you go down too far you get brackish water, salt water. If you break that blue-clay layer you hit that water.

 

They said to Mom, “What if we fix the water problem and made that okay?” “You mean, put some of them big black tanks up?” He said “Yeah!” But it’s like—no! I don’t think that’s an answer to anything, to put a water storage tank up. Because we have some of the best water there is out here—it’s really good.

Another thing about this pipeline they don’t realize, my dad was a fire chief up here for 25 years, for the volunteer fire department. He was always saying, “How are they going to fight a fire if there is one?” And they say, “Oh well, we’ll get you the equipment.” But do these volunteers want to fight a gas fire? What they don’t realize, it’s a lot to ask a volunteer just to go get trained.

 

Taking over for Dad

The first thing Mom and Dad did when they came around surveying was, Dad ran them off and had a lawyer send them a letter that they were trespassing.

I went to a thing they held on how to write comments to the Army Corps of Engineers. That was the first time I went to anything. Otherwise Dad would have been doing all this. He was totally against it. I know he’d want me to fight clear to the end.

 

 

 

 

It’s going to ruin a lot of things out here. I really believe it will ruin the water.

While Mike's father was still alive, Mike would take him on drives in the Model T which was his father's first car. Mike's father suffered from Alzheimer's, but on these drives he would sometimes enjoy a few lucid moments.