Citizens Send Big Line 5 Message to Michigan Elected Officials

American Indians protest Enbridge Line 5 on Labor Weekend at Straits of Mackinac. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

Published September 5, 2019

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — As state lawmakers return to Lansing after a Labor Day break, they will have heard from thousands of constituents united in opposing Enbridge’s proposed oil pipeline tunnel in the Great Lakes and demanding quick action to decommission dangerous Line 5.

While the Canadian multinational oil transport giant Enbridge and an oil industry front group pump millions of dollars into Lansing corporate lobby firms, media ads, public radio, and other sponsorships, spreading gifts around to northern Michigan and other communities, Michigan citizens have mobilized in unprecedented numbers to counter the dirty oil money attack on the Great Lakes. The organizing campaign is a partnership that includes the Michigan Climate Action Network, Clean Water Action, Sierra Club and the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign.

“We’re bringing the power of people together to protect the Great Lakes and our climate,” said Kate Madigan, Michigan Climate Action Network Director.  “Michigan citizens are demanding that Michigan elected officials put people before dirty oil money. That means no oil tunnel and no oil pipelines in the Great Lakes.”

By today more than 16,000 Michigan voters will have directly contacted their state lawmakers since late June.  That’s in addition to more than 29,000 citizens who endorsed a petition opposing Enbridge’s oil tunnel and taken other online actions demanding the decommissioning of Line 5, including 1,981 who have volunteered with the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign.

Every state lawmaker and Gov. Whitmer has heard from Michigan voters over the past two months, said Sean McBrearty, Michigan Legislative and Policy Director for Clean Water Action.

“Voters told us their priorities when a governor, attorney general and a majority of state House members took office this year after campaigning strongly around protecting Michigan’s waters,” said McBrearty.  “This is just a reminder that you can’t promise to protect the Great Lakes and support risky oil pipelines we don’t need that threaten the Great Lakes and 400 other Michigan waterways.”

Enbridge is pumping profits from Line 5 oil into virtually every Michigan news media outlet and has hired multiple Lansing lobby firms in an effort to convince Michiganders to embrace its dangerous oil pipelines.

“Why is Enbridge spending millions to convince Michiganders their Line 5 pipeline is safe and vital to Michigan and they care about protecting the Great Lakes?  Because it’s not true,” said David Holtz, spokesperson for Oil & Water Don’t Mix.  “Enbridge has lied about the condition of its dangerous Line 5 pipeline and just over a year ago paid a $1.8 million fine for failing to thoroughly inspect its pipelines for weaknesses.  But you won’t see that in Enbridge’s paid ads, the talking points they write or the message they tell lawmakers.

“Our job is to help regular citizens pierce Enbridge’s lies and let their elected officials know directly that they demand the put protecting Michigan and the Great Lakes over Big Oil money.”

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