Resolved: Shareholders request that the Board produce a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, examining whether Enbridge’s pattern of lobbying and political donations in the U.S. is creating unnecessary business risk and is consistent with its net zero goal. The report should disclose evaluation criteria and external stakeholders consulted, if any.
In November 2021, Politico ran a story with the headline: “The Canadian energy company in the way of Whitmer’s campaign,” accusing Enbridge of “trying to scuttle Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s re-election bid.” She went on to win.
The story details “six-figure ad buys” by Enbridge advocating for the continued use of Line 5 directly and indirectly via front groups like ‘Great Lakes. Michigan Jobs.’ Enbridge has spent over US$100,000 on lobbying in Michigan in each of the past four years.
In Minnesota, Enbridge also used a front group during the Line 3 controversy – ‘Minnesotans for Line 3’ which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising and tries to position itself as a grassroots organization but which the media discovered had Enbridge executives listed as responsible for TV ads.
Enbridge caused international headlines for partially funding Minnesota police during enforcement actions against Line 3 protestors – nearly 900 people were arrested. The payments totalled US$8.6 million and are now the subject of legal action alleging violation of due process and equal protection of protestors since the payments amount to third-party influence over law enforcement.
In New York, Enbridge serves on the steering committee of ‘New Yorkers for Affordable Energy,’ a front group that has been accused of lobbying against the implementation of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Despite their prominence and controversial nature, none of Enbridge’s activities with these front groups in Michigan, Minnesota, and New York have been disclosed by the company in investor materials.
Federally in the U.S., Enbridge has a pattern of donating to pro-fossil fuel politicians. In 2022 Enbridge’s biggest donations were to Senator Joe Manchin who achieved notoriety for single-handedly blocking national climate action, and Rep. Jack Bergman who has a 10% pro-environment lifetime voting score from the League of Conservation Voters.
InfluenceMap scores Enbridge with a D on lobbying, saying the company remains “actively engaged with both local and regional energy policies in North America to promote fossil fuels in the energy mix.”
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. This pattern and lack of disclosure merits due consideration and oversight by the Enbridge Board.
This proposal is consistent with the investor-created Global Standard on Corporate Climate Lobbying.
We respectfully request that shareholders vote FOR this proposal.