Enbridge holds Line 5 open house, picketers oppose project

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 5:08 PM CDT
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SUPERIOR, WI. (Northern News Now) -- The Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline has been a point of contention for years.

It runs from Superior, across Northwest Wisconsin and through the U.P.

Activists and tribes have long expressed concern about the oil pipeline’s potential environmental impact.

On Tuesday, Enbridge held an open house in Superior highlighting a proposed relocation of the line, while picketers made their voices heard.

The Wisconsin Jobs & Energy Coalition (WJE) put on “The Safest Way” state-wide tour.

WJE is a group of business, labor and agricultural leaders who are advocating for the continued use of Enbridge’s Line 5.

“Pipelines have a 99.999% safety record in moving energy projects to where they need to go, so we know that that is objectively, the safest way for us to get fuel where we need it,” said Mark Graul with the WJE.

They held the open house and presentation to highlight the proposed relocation of a portion of Line 5 from off the Bad River Band Reservation, through other places like Wisconsin counties Ashland, Bayfield and Iron.

“That’s one of the things that we’re really out here talking about, the importance of that reroute project, and we really hope to see that that gets kicked off sooner rather than later,” Graul said.

Not everyone is happy about the project.

“People need to educate themselves on what that entails and how much risk that entails for the Bad River Watershed and for the Bad River Reservation and all of the critical, cultural resources that are there,” said Carl Sack, an organizer and ally of the Bad River Band.

Sack says it’s not enough to just reroute the pipeline.

“Right now we’re asking people to contact President Biden, contact the White House and ask President Biden to order an emergency shutdown of the pipeline,” Sack said.

He said recent spring snow melt caused the Bad River to flood and erode its banks within 10 feet of the pipeline, posing a great environmental risk.

In May, the Bad River Band filed an emergency motion to shut the pipeline down following the spring flooding.

The judge in the hearing said he is unlikely to force the emergency shutdown at this time.

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