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Line 5 Crude Oil Pipeline Faces Imminent Wisconsin Failure Risk

While Enbridge breaks the law, Tribe holds its breath and asks for federal shutdown order.

Ashland, WI- The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Monday filed for an emergency order in federal court to shut down the Enbridge Line 5 crude oil pipeline following heavy flooding that risks a pipeline failure.

The Bad River is overflowing its banks and threatens the integrity of the Line 5 pipeline in Wisconsin

“Six months ago, a federal judge ruled that the Enbridge Line 5 crude oil pipeline has been trespassing on the sovereign territory of the Bad River Band for a decade. Now major flooding is threatening the stability of the pipeline and increasing the threat to our water,” said Sean McBrearty, Oil and Water Don’t Mix coordinator. “Enbridge operates without an easement in Michigan, trespasses and violates tribal sovereignty in Wisconsin, and the federal government is missing in action when it comes to holding this giant oil corporation accountable. What more will it take for President Biden to act?”

A federal judge ruled last November that Enbridge has been trespassing on Bad River Band reservation land for the last decade by operating Line 5 after the Tribe refused to renew easements in 2013. The Bad River Band asked for a ruling by Friday on Monday’s shutdown request.

“Enbridge operates without an easement in Michigan, trespasses and violates tribal sovereignty in Wisconsin, and the federal government is missing in action when it comes to holding this giant oil corporation accountable. What more will it take for President Biden to act?” - Sean McBrearty, Oil and Water Don’t Mix coordinator

Heavy flooding and erosion on the banks of the Bad River have washed away critical protections for the pipeline, leaving Line 5 just 11 feet away from the rushing river. A rupture of Line 5 at the Bad River crossing would contaminate both the river and Lake Superior with crude oil. Despite the imminent danger, Enbridge has still refused to shut the pipeline down as a precaution, and the company has failed to take any preventative action.

The Wisconsin Line 5 pipeline threat comes as Michigan marks the two-year point in Gov. Whitmer’s order terminating Enbridge’s Line 5 easement agreement with Michigan this week. A decision on whether Michigan state courts will be able to enforce Whitmer’s shutdown order is now in the hands of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Thus far, the Biden administration has remained silent in the Michigan case.


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  • William Latka
    published this page in News 2023-05-10 11:09:47 -0400

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