Since the struggle at Standing Rock in 2016 we have seen an interest in the resistance to fossil fuel pipelines. This has brought together the climate justice movement and the Indigenous liberation movement and the struggle for a livable planet. This past year the Anishinaabe people led resistance camps against Line 3 in northern Minnesota, which despite resistance was completed and is flowing tar sands oil from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. Now Enbridge is looking to “reroute” and “expand” another pipeline, Line 5.
Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline threatens Tribal land, Treaty Rights in the ceded territory, the Great Lakes, and the climate. The pipeline, which is long past its lifespan, is currently pumping tar sands oil under expired permits. Despite the Bad River Ojibwe’s request that Enbridge remove Line 5 and not put a pipeline in the Bad River watershed, Enbridge has moved forward with their reroute just south of the reservation. This expansion is within the watershed, and the risk to the treasured ecosystem remains.
Currently Line 5 flows from Superior, Wisconsin through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and ending in southeastern Michigan, all through Anishinaabe territory,
Below is a Madison DSA statement put together by People’s Green New Deal, Madison DSA’s ecosocialist working group. This statement was read at the DNR’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement hearing on February 2, 2022.
The hearing ran 10 hours and of the 167 testifiers,147 spoke out against the pipeline. You can still send written comments to the DNR until March 18, 2022 by emailing DNROEEACOMMENTS@WI.GOV.
Madison DSA Statement that was read:
I’m here representing the Madison Area chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Thank you for the opportunity to testify tonight on this critical issue.
Madison DSA stands firmly with the Indigenous people of Wisconsin and for the water, land, and climate in our opposition to Enbridge’s Line 5 project. We ask that all permits for this project be denied.
The construction and operation of the existing Line 5 pipeline has already caused irreparable harm to land, water, and those that live nearby. Line 5 has spilled a million gallons of oil and will continue to spill until it is shut down. Enbridge has a long history of pipeline leaks, frac outs, and aquifer breaches, proving time and again that they cannot be trusted to keep our people and land safe. During construction of the Line 3 expansion in Minnesota, Enbridge caused numerous frac outs and aquifer breaches, and there’s no reason to believe it will be different with the Line 5 expansion.
The DNR must uphold treaty rights and tribal sovereignty, and the Indigenous people of Wisconsin must be allowed to make decisions about projects that directly threaten their land, water, and wild rice. Their rights were denied to them when Line 5 was first built through the Bad River Ojibwe Reservation, and rerouting the pipeline to avoid the Reservation will not resolve the situation. Rather, the additional pipeline footprint would damage even more of their traditional homelands, waterways, and their treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather off reservation. Line 5 continues the legacy of colonization and environmental destruction that Indigenous people have been subjected to for centuries.
But even if Line 5 could somehow be rerouted and operated without destroying ecosystems or threatening Indigenous sovereignty, which is clearly impossible, it will continue to play a role in propping up the fossil fuel industry and exacerbating global climate change. Wisconsin must rapidly break its reliance on fossil fuels and not allow Enbridge and similar firms engaged in their extraction to continue plundering the earth with impunity. It’s critical for life on the planet that we reject any new fossil fuel projects and end the use of existing ones.
As socialists, we recognize that the crisis of climate change is not something that is inevitable or naturally occuring; but rather it is the result of a system that prioritizes private corporate profits over the well-being of all. Multinational corporations like Enbridge happily line their pockets while irreparably destroying ecosystems, polluting water that thousands depend upon, and contributing to global carbon emissions. This project is an explicit attack on the people of Wisconsin and on the climate.
Line 5 is a threat to us all. It must be fully decommissioned and cleaned up, not rerouted to destroy even more delicate ecosystems and continue contributing to climate change. Listen to the people; listen to the water; listen to the future the ripple effects that this decision will have. Deny every permit that Enbridge is asking for.
Thank you again for listening. Water is Life.