Indigenous Leaders, Local Communities, and Environmental Groups Take Action to Urge an Immediate Shut Down of Line 5
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — On August 6, Indigenous leaders, local communities, and environmental groups took action along the banks of the Nemadji River in Superior, Wisconsin to call for immediate steps to shutdown Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline.
Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline was originally built in 1953, and continues to operate nearly 20 years past its engineered lifespan, transporting crude oil through northern Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and under the Straits of Mackinac, posing a serious threat to the Great Lakes region which holds one-fifth of the world's surface freshwater. Already, Line 5 has spilled over 30 times, dumping more than a million gallons of oil.
This weekend’s actions are the latest in a series amplifying the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and allies’ call for an emergency closure of the pipeline due to extreme ongoing erosion at the Mashkiiziibii (Bad River) meander, just 16 miles upstream of Gichigami (Lake Superior).
At the event, organizers held a march, flotilla action, and community water festival on the Nemadji River to bring attention to the importance of Indigenous sovereignty and rights, water protection, the climate crisis, the history of Enbridge and Line 5, and ongoing efforts to shut down the pipeline permanently.
Enbridge is currently proposing a reroute of the pipeline around the Bad River reservation, however, a spill would still dangerously impact the Bad River watershed, and a federal court filing shows that a shut down of Line 5 would raise gas prices by only a half penny. Additionally, the International Energy Agency has repeatedly called for the end of fossil fuel expansion to keep global warming below 1.5°C, thus allowing the continued operation of the pipeline does not align with the climate targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.
"Line 5 crosses over tribal treaty territory and one of those ceded territories is my own reservation of Bad River. The danger that Line 5 brings to the environment is our biggest concern here. Our historical homelands, cultural resources, subsistence, wildrice, medicines, fisheries, and water are in jeopardy of an imminent catastrophic oil spill. An oil spill into the Bad River waterways which leads into Lake Superior puts the entire Great Lakes ecosystem at great risk that would cause irreparable destruction,” stated Rene Ann Goodrich, Bad River Tribal Elder and Organizer with Native Lives Matter Coalition. “We came together this weekend as a community and as one collective voice along the Nemadji River as a testament to the importance of Indigenous sovereignty and rights, and to protecting our water. We have a need, we have a responsibility, we have a duty to protect our life givers. Our life givers are the earth, the aquifers underneath the earth, the women that are sacred water carriers, and water itself that brings life. We urge the Biden Administration to take action and shut down Line 5 immediately!”
Organizers of the action include Native Lives Matter, Honor the Earth, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), Seek Joy, 350 WI and 350.org, Sierra Club, Northwoods Socialist Collective, and many other members of the Line 5 coalition.
Please find photos, a livestream of the rally, and additional resources at the links below:
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.