Mandela Barnes, a Democratic Senate candidate from Wisconsin, told climate activists in 2019 that he opposed any “construction of new pipelines”, including the expansion of the main oil and gas pipeline from northern Wisconsin because “if the infrastructure is there, then people are going to use that.”
The comments came when Barnes, speaking as Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, appeared at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Spain, according to video from the UN archives obtained by the Free Washington Beacon.
“Nor should we be in a place where we even encourage the construction of new pipelines,” Barnes said. “Because if the infrastructure is there, then people will use it.”
Barnes’ opposition to pipeline construction could become a problem for his campaign, amid high inflation and warnings from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that energy prices could rise further later this year . The Democrat, who is running against Republican Senator Ron Johnson, said he also opposes Enbridge’s Line 5, which provides heat and power to northern Wisconsin and is a major source of electricity. jobs and income for the state.
“There is a pipeline that would cross the [Upper Peninsula of Michigan] it would also go to Wisconsin, and we should have a real discussion about it. We know the damage pipelines can cause,” Barnes said.
Barnes did not respond to a request for comment.
The Sierra Club and other climate activists say the pipeline is harmful to the environment and are pushing to shut it down through legal challenges and state government interventions. Enbridge is working to relocate part of the line that passed through a disputed area on an Indian reservation.
Barnes said his administration — led by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is locked in a tight re-election race — is quietly working with local officials across the state to hamper the energy policies of the controlled state legislature. by Republicans.
“We’re looking to use our local government instead of our state legislature,” Barnes said. “The same way states are doing where the federal government is not, we have mayors in cities all over Wisconsin, county executives all over Wisconsin who have already committed to the work. And we We’re here to support them.”
The Free tag posted another video discovered earlier this week of Barnes giving a scathing critique of capitalism at the same climate conference. His comments were first reported by Empower Wisconsin in 2020.
Barnes said the solution to climate change “is to thwart capitalism as it is in America.”
“How greedy can humanity be? The reason we are in this mess is the pursuit of greed. This is capitalism gone mad, which is why we are in this predicament now,” Barnes said.
Barnes has supported progressive energy policies throughout his political career and praised the Biden administration last year for revoking permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. As lieutenant governor, he led a commission on climate change that proposed removing state pension funds from fossil fuels, instituting a carbon tax and requiring schools to teach a race-based climate justice agenda.