Enbridge Officials Present Tribe with Annual Payment
By Joe Morey
Enbridge Energy Partners, LLC, officials, Trent Wetmore and April Holdren, met with LCO Tribal Governing Board members on Wednesday, Jan. 27, to present their annual payment of $1,966,199. Additionally, Enbridge made a tax payment of $272,000 to the Tribe.
This is the fifth payment made to LCO for a right-of-way lease negotiated in 2017 which permits Enbridge to run a line through 3.5 miles of a portion of the southern end of the LCO Reservation.
The first three payments were in excess of $3 million bringing the total to nearly $14 million since 2017. The Tribe has used Enbridge funds for many positive developments and services since the agreement began, including the building of a new wastewater treatment facility. LCO TGB Member Tweed Shuman said the Enbridge bank accounts remain healthy at $7 million with the addition of this most recent payment.
LCO Chairman Louis Taylor thanked Wetmore and Holdren telling them that thanks to the Enbridge funds, the LCO Tribe is doing outstanding things.
“Even before Covid relief funds our Tribe was moving forward in many areas and that can be attributed directly to the Enbridge funds,” Taylor said. “This agreement really gave our Tribe the boost it needed.”
“I give you tons of credit for the vision you have and to have the best interest of the membership in mind,” Wetmore stated.
“Your membership must be so appreciative that you have been transparent with the funds,” Holdren added.
Taylor said of the Enbridge relationship, the annual payments will provide much-needed financial security for the tribe well into the future.
“It’s not only beneficial today, but for our kids 25 years from now,” Taylor stated.
Over the past few years, in addition to the wastewater treatment facility, Enbridge funds have been used for land purchases, scholarships, the Boys and Girsl Club and to increase elder services such as snowplowing, home repairs, and annual Christmas/birthday checks.
Taylor said he wants to see Enbridge funds used for more economic development for the Tribe, which he indicated could include investment in business in our surrounding communities, a new wellness center and health center, and development of the Hideout property.
“There are many other possible projects we could embark in the near future and we’d like to engage with our membership to get their ideas,” Taylor said.
Shuman added he’d like to put out some polling or community surveys in the near future to ask the membership what projects they would like to see, such as investment in the new wellness center.
“We need to hear from our membership to help us determine the direction that they would like us to take with these funds,” Shuman stated. “After all, it’s their money and they should have some input.”
Pictured above L-R) TGB member Don Carley, LCO Sec-Treasurer Michelle Beaudin, April Holdren and Trent Wetmore (Enbridge), LCO TGB member Tweed Shuman, LCO Chairman Louis Taylor and LCO Vice Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge.