Dear Editor: Enbridge Line 5, a 67-year-old Canadian oil pipeline, starts in Superior, and traverses east using the upper Great Lake states for a shortcut to its destination in Sarnia, Ontario. Wisconsin receives no benefit from the pipeline but is subject to a lot of risk.
Much of the risk comes where it goes through the Bad River Reservation, a fragile, water-rich reservation on the shores of Lake Superior. The easements to pass through the reservation expired in 2013. Since that time the Bad River Band has tried negotiating with Enbridge to cease and desist operation of the pipeline and remove it from the reservation. Enbridge has rejected the requests. In July 2019, the Band filed a federal lawsuit against Enbridge to shut down and remove the pipeline.
Anticipating their loss in court, Enbridge has proposed a 41 mile reroute around the reservation. It traverses south out of Ashland to Mellen. From there it swings east, then goes north and ties in east of the reservation.
The reroute puts at risk for contamination the following:
* The beautiful and wild Copper Falls State Park
* 185 waterways, 99 of which will require trenching
* Property owners along the line
* The Bad River and Lake Superior watershed
* Lake Superior
* The Kakagon Slough, the largest wild rice beds in the Great Lakes Basin where the Bad River Band has been harvesting rice for centuries
The Line 5 reroute is a terrible place for an oil pipeline. Fossil fuels, whether spilled on the ground, in waterways or burned as a fuel — climate crisis is the end result. Please decommission this old pipeline.
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