Takeaways from testimony on risks from Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 tunnel under the Great Lakes

Enbridge has proposed tunneling under the Straits of Mackinac for twin pipelines carrying light crude oil and natural gas liquids. They would replace the current Line 5 pipelines that run along floor of the Great Lakes.

Enbridge said the tunnel could be built, and the pipelines operated, with extremely little risk. The company said a spill within the tunnel would occur once in 663,000 years and, the risk of having it ignite would be once every 169 million years,

Experts for the Bay Mills Indian Community strongly disagree. Their testimony was recently posted online, raising important questions about the project’s risk.

Five takeaways follow.

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The Black Snake keeps slithering: Stop Line 5

The protracted resistance to Enbridge Line 3 was unable to stop the pipeline from becoming operational — for now — but efforts to stop the flow of toxic tar sands oil is far from over.

Enbridge Line 3 trenched through northern Minnesota, ending at a terminal in Superior, Wisc. Enbridge’s next step is to build a new Line 5 from Superior, through northern Wisconsin, continuing into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, crossing the Great Lakes, and ending in Sarnia, Ontario.

Line 5 carries 540,000 barrels of tar sands crude daily. It’s strongly opposed by the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Wisconsin and the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan and people concerned about its environmental damage.

“The Line 5 expansion plan threatens the Apostle Islands, Copper Falls State Park, and the thriving recreation and tourism economies of northern Wisconsin,” The Sierra Club Wisconsin wrote. “Enbridge wants to use the same drilling method that poisoned waterways and aquifers in Minnesota, which could irreversibly pollute drinking water for Wisconsin residents and family farms. A spill would be disastrous for the Bad River Tribe and their extensive wild rice beds and fisheries on Lake Superior.”

Here’s one easy step you can take to oppose Line 5.

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