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Commissioners postpone voting to support Line 5 and census question

Noelle Riley

Two controversial agenda items proposed by the Grand Traverse County Commissioners supporting Line 5 and the U.S. Census question were postponed Wednesday.

One agenda item supported Enbridge — the Canadian energy company that operates Line 5 — to invest $500 million to place a tunnel around Line 5. Also on the agenda was a resolution supporting the widely debated U.S. Census question, asking residents if they are legal United States citizens or not.

After dozens of constituents spoke during the public comment period at the beginning of the commissioners’ monthly meeting, commissioner Brad Jewett made a motion to remove both agenda items.

They were not removed because of public comment, but instead removed because two of the seven commissioners, Bryce Hundley and Sonny Wheelock, were not at the meeting.

“I did not realize until today that we would not have a full board here,” Jewett said. “So I’d like it to be on our next meeting agenda.”

Prior to the the board voting to remove the two resolutions, constituents on both side of the aisle — Republican and Democrat — spoke strongly against the commissioners supporting Enbridge.

“I would like to address both of the resolutions that are before the commission today, and I have to say I am stunned. I’m totally stunned,” said Stan Verheul of Traverse City. “I was one of many, I’m sure, who communicated to you our thoughts. I urge you to vote no.”

Commissioners meet at 8 a.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. The next meeting will be held on Aug. 21.