Tribes Not Happy with Agreement to Construct a New Line 5 in Straits of Mackinac

Fourth Annual Flotilla to shut down Enbridge Line 5 spent Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend in the water to draw attention to this important issue. Native News Online photographs Levi Rickert

Published October 4, 2018

STRAITS OF MACKINAC — Reaction to Wednesday morning’s announcement that the State of Michigan and Enbridge have reached a new agreement that calls for Enbridge to construct a new $350 million Line 5 that will be protected in a tunnel is unacceptable to Michigan tribal leaders.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced the new agreement with Canadian energy company Enbridge for a multi-million tunnel that will be built 100 feet before the lake bed in the Straits of Mackinac. This new pipeline will replace the 65-year-old existing Line 5 pipeline that many environmentalists and other have said is too old and will likely burst.

Read the 20-page agreement with Enbridge on Line 5

None of the 12 federally recognized Michigan Indian tribes were consulted with during the leading up to the new agreement.

Chairperson Aaron Payment at Straits of Mackinac on Sept. 1, 2018

“Tribes have stood in unity to call for the unequivocal shut down of Line 5,” commented Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians Chairperson Aaron Payment, who also is the vice president of the National Congress of American Indians.  “I lived near the Kalamazoo River when Line 6 ruptured and spewed 800,000 gallons of poison into our Nibii (waters) or Aki (Mother Earth). In the end, a tunnel will NOT be feasible and taxpayers will be on the hook. This ‘trust me’ approach led to the spill at Kalamazoo, so don’t believe it or when Enbridge or politicians say ‘trust me.’”

The Bay Mills Indian Community released a statement following Wednesday’s announcement. It reads in part:

“Bay Mills Indian Community is frustrated that the State of Michigan has cut yet another sweetheart agreement with Enbridge to keep Canadian oil flowing beneath Michigan’s waters.

Helen “Granny” Red Feather at Straits of Mackinac.

This new agreement allows Enbridge to keep the oil flowing beneath the Straits of Mackinac “for as long as the Line 5 Straits Replacement Segment shall be in operation by Enbridge.” In other words, Michigan has agreed that Enbridge can operate its oil pipeline beneath the Great Lakes as long as it pleases.

The State of Michigan formed this long-term partnership with Enbridge without any meaningful engagement with Michigan’s 12 federally recognized tribes, and without any regard to the impact of this agreement on the treaty-protected fishing rights and religious beliefs of Native Americans across the State. In addition, Michigan made the decision to authorize a permanent Canadian oil pipeline beneath Michigan’s waters while Enbridge is actively seeking permits from state and federal agencies related to the Line 5 Pipeline.”

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  1. Cecelia Rose LaPointe 8 months ago
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