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Longtime DeVos Family operative, Greg McNeilly, is defending the Enbridge Corporation’s Line 5

May 20, 2021

Last Friday, Greg McNeilly, Chairman of the Michigan Freedom Fund, posted a comment on the organization’s blog, entitled, Party Like It’s 1979.

The blog post was making a cheeky remark about the Colonial Pipeline shut down and that Michigan might also be experiencing a rise in gas prices, especially if Gov. Whitmer “gets her way.”

McNeilly goes on to write:

This week the Governor bowed to the radical environmentalists in her political base, and ordered Enbridge energy to shutter their Line 5 pipeline. It’s a move that would take 540,000 barrels per day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids out of the state and away from the region. 

It’s unfortunate that McNeilly, and other commentators, use the term radical in a negative way. A more honest understanding of the term radical, means to get to the root of something. However, McNeilly uses the term radical to suggest someone who is an extremist. 

Not only does McNeilly misuse the term radical, his suggestion that Gov. Whitmer is bowing to radical environmentalists is simply ridiculous. Whitmer campaigned against Line 5 during her 2018 run for the office, plus virtually every mainstream environmental group in the state endorses the shutdown of Line 5. More importantly, indigenous communities throughout the Great Lakes area, which have been at the forefront of the campaign against Line 5, are not extremists. In fact, for Greg McNeilly to refer to Indigenous people as radical environmentalists is not only dead wrong, it is highly problematic. Does McNeilly, the Republican operative, really want to marginalize indigenous people in the Great Lakes area? If so, he is marginalizing the very people who have lived in harmony within the Great Lakes for thousands of years.

Such tasteless rhetoric from Greg McNeilly is not unusual for him. McNeilly is not only the Chairman of the Michigan Freedom Fund, he is the Chief Operating Officer for The Windquest Group, which is owned by Dick and Betsy DeVos.

In 2006, McNeilly served as campaign manager for Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos.

McNeilly was also Executive Director of Choices for Children, a Michigan-based group that was working to undermine public education. In addition, McNeilly currently serves on the Board of Directors of the DeVos-created Great Lakes Education Project, which also seeks to undermine public education and replace it with privatized education. 

McNeilly is also on the Board of Directors of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, which is a non-elected entity that uses public tax dollars to promote downtown GR and fund development projects for the business community.

Again, saying that Gov. Whitmer is bowing to radical environmentalists on the potential Enbridge Line 5 shutdown is nothing more than political theater. If there is anyone that should be considered extremists on this issue, it’s McNeilly, for his longtime work as a DeVos-family operative, and the Enbridge Corporation, which constantly puts the Great Lakes ecosystem at risk with their pipelines. 

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