MiCAN has been advocating for this action along with thousands of Michigan citizens, organizations, and Michigan Tribes.
Today, Attorney General Nessel filed legal action against Enbridge on behalf of the people of Michigan to decommission the Line 5 oil pipeline. Michigan climate leaders praised the Attorney General’s action, which has been long-awaited by the thousands of Michigan citizens, more than 70 organizations, 12 Michigan Tribes, and dozens of Michigan cities who have called for shutting down the 66-year-old Line 5 oil pipeline.
“We sincerely thank Attorney General Nessel for following through on her campaign promise and taking legal action today against Enbridge to shut down Line 5,” said Kate Madigan, director of the Michigan Climate Action Network. “Not only is this a crucial action to protect our Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill, it is a smart response to the clear science showing we must move off fossil fuels rapidly to address the climate crisis we are in.”
Madigan added, “This is what climate leadership looks like, and standing up to Enbridge shows the kind of courage we need from our leaders in this era. We sincerely thank Attorney General Nessel for doing what needs to be done now.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel
A series of scientific reports released this year has elevated the urgent need to move off fossil fuels to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The United Nation’s climate report released in October 2018 called for cutting carbon emissions 45 percent by 2030, a more urgent timeline than previously understood.
Governor Whitmer issued a statement today in support of the Attorney General’s filing, and directed the Department of Natural Resources to do a comprehensive review of the easement.
“We applaud Governor Whitmer’s statement in support of the Attorney General’s action today, and hope that she will join this legal action and follow through on her promise to decommission Line 5,” added Madigan. “We know a tunnel will not protect the Great Lakes, and also would exacerbate climate change by extending the life of an oil pipeline at a time when we need to be transitioning quickly to clean energy.”
This marks a change from the past two months when the Governor was in negotiations with Enbridge for an oil tunnel to replace Line 5 in the Straits. A proposed oil tunnel attracted criticism from national climate leaders, including author and 350.org founder Bill McKibben.
Bill McKibben was quoted at a May 22 teleconference organized by the Michigan Climate Action Network, saying, “The existential threat of global warming should prompt Michigan and the world to veer away from fossil fuels, not “lock in” a massive pipeline tunnel that could carry oil through some of the world’s largest freshwater reserves for close to another century.”
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Anishinaabek Caucus Lauds Nessel Honoring Campaign Promise, Urges Whitmer to Follow Suit
“shut down Line 5”
Ypsilanti, Michigan (June 27, 2019)— The Anishinaabek Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party urges Governor Whitmer to join the Attorney General’s lawsuit against Enbridge Inc. Enbridge’s continued exploratory work for the tunnel and operation of Line 5 are in violation of the Treaty rights of federally recognized tribes of Michigan. Refer to the attached Position Statement circulated in May.
Caucus members stand with Nessel. Whitmer’s and Nessel’s campaign promises mobilized Tribal participation in Michigan’s democratic process.
An oil spill in the Great Lakes would be absolutely devastating to our environment and our economy. We can’t afford to sit around and wait for disaster to strike, we need…to stop making excuses and announce an immediate plan to shut down Line 5. Enough is enough. (gretchenwhitmer.com/issues/environment/)
As long as Line 5 operates, Michigan’s waters, wildlife, and people remain at risk. The report, “Independent Risk Analysis for the Straits Pipelines” (September 15, 2018), reveals that 2.4 M gallons of crude would damage 60,000 acres of unique habitat affecting businesses, personal property, and municipal water supplies. Since 1968 there has been more than 1.1M gallons of crude spilled from Line 5 inland, hence acknowledgement of a Line 5 spill in the Straits is real. Degradation of supports, mussel encrustation, deformities of the pipe, and an anchor strike have been reported.
Line 5 is not critical to providing propane to residents and businesses of the Upper Peninsula. In fact, the volume of propane Enbridge provides through Line 5 is 0.25%. Trucking this amount would be a continuance of current practice to deliver propane in this area. Furthermore, good union jobs in green energy are being ignored. As of 2017, 3.4M Americans were employed in the green energy sector compared to 3.0M in the fossil fuel sector. Developing renewable energy in the Upper Peninsula could be Michigan’s beginning in green energy independence.
It is the responsibility of Michigan’s elected leaders to act in the interest of Michigan residents’ well-being, our environment, and our economy. Line 5 threatens Michigan and Michiganders. The fact that Line 5 is in violation of Treaty Rights, in itself makes it unconstitutional. Line 5 must be decommissioned, and the tunnel project rejected. The Caucus thanks Attorney General, Dana Nessel, for her courageous stand.
Anishinaabek Caucus of MDP is a political caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party advocating for the issues and concerns of the 12 Tribes in Michigan.
attachments: Position Statement, Line 5/Tunnel Plan Unconstitutional, In Violation of Treaties
photo, Andrea Pierce, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and Chair of Anishinaabek Caucus of MDP, at Governor Whitmer’s inauguration, January 2019.