FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 8, 2022
ST. IGNACE, Mich. — Two busloads of concerned citizens from the Great Lakes region and others from as far as Toronto and Minnesota packed a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers meeting today. All made the trip to deliver strong messages asking the Army Corps to reject Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 oil tunnel.
“The Army Corps of Engineers must take into account the full impact of the Canadian government's interpretation of the 1977 Transit Pipeline Treaty when considering this tunnel project,” said Sierra Club organizer and Canadian citizen Tessine Murji. “If the Line 5 shutdown order is not enforced because of the 1977 treaty, it will give Enbridge carte blanche to ignore the United States federal government’s sovereign ability to enforce environmental laws regulating oil infrastructure operating in the United States.”
Michelle Woodhouse, the freshwater program manager for Environmental Defence Canada, often provides testimony outlining the threats Line 5 and the tunnel plan present.
“I do this to show that the Canadian government and Enbridge do not represent all Canadians,” Woodhouse said. “There are Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous people in Canada that want to see a planned and permanent closure of Line 5.”
“Major spills and ongoing safety violations make it clear Line 5 is dangerous, putting 80% of North America and Turtle Island’s most precious freshwater source at imminent risk,” Woodhouse said. “Multiple expert analyses exist — including those commissioned by Environmental Defence Canada, and a separate analysis commissioned by Bad River Band of the Lake Superior of Chippewas — that prove we do not need Line 5 to meet our current energy needs.”
Approval of the tunnel plan would amount to doubling down on a mistake Michigan made in 1953 when it sanctioned running Line 5 through the Straits of Mackinac. Now, nearly 70 years later, the Army Corps of Engineers is considering giving Canadian pipeline company Enbridge approval to gouge a tunnel beneath one of the most sensitive sections of the Great Lakes for an oil pipeline that doesn’t benefit Michigan and isn’t necessary.
“As fires, floods and biodiversity loss from an overheating climate wreak havoc on our shared environment, a decision to permit Enbridge to extend the life of its fossil fuel pipeline would be the wrong decision at the wrong time,” said Bill Latka, digital director for Oil & Water Don’t Mix.
While public comment on the scope of the Army Corps’ Environmental Impact Statement will be accepted through Oct. 14, Enbridge’s own experts admit shutting down this pipeline would have little impact on oil supply, and temporary gasoline price impacts would result in less than a cent per gallon increase.
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Photo (above) from consultation of Whitney Gravelle, Bay Mills Indian Community, presenting.