Thursday, July 11, 2013

Groups concerned about pipeline under Straits to rally near Mackinac Bridge July 14

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. -- Hundreds of citizens concerned about the risks a 60-year-old oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac poses to the Great Lakes will rally at Bridge View State Park at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 14. The  "Oil and Water Don't Mix Rally" will call attention to the aging pipeline and urge state officials to take action to fully protect the Great Lakes from a potential oil spill that would cause great harm.

The event will feature a series of speakers, including climate activist and founder Bill McKibben and others, who will urge Gov. Rick Snyder to insist that federal authorities require Enbridge, Inc., of Calgary, Alberta -- the pipeline owner and operator -- to remove and replace the aging line with the safest, most protective pipe technology available. Local Traverse City chapter "TC 350" has joined with Michigan Land Use Institute and many other state and local groups to organize this rally.

Enbridge is responsible for the 2010 Kalamazoo River tar sands oil pipeline spill, the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. That cleanup is still underway three years and nearly 1 billion dollars after it began because submerged tar sands oil is proving to be far more difficult to clean up than conventional oil.

Rally-goers will also call for a permanent ban on sending tar sands oil through the Mackinac pipeline, or any other lines near the Great Lakes or their tributaries.

"There is no such thing as a perfect, completely leak-free pipeline," according to Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation, who co-authored several reports on Enbridge’s pipeline problems. "A major leak at the heart of the Great Lakes would be a terrible thing for the environmental and lakeshore landowners. This very old pipeline is a disaster waiting to happen."*

Also onstage will be Jerry Dennis, a noted author who writes extensively about Great Lakes history and ecosystems, and representatives from other communities that have been impacted by Enbridge’s pipelines, including Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands and the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council.

Rally sponsors include the National Wildlife Federation, Michigan Environmental Council, Ann Arbor 350, Michigan Land Use Institute, FLOW, the Detroit and Michigan Coalitions Against Tar Sands, the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, the Northern and West Michigan Environmental Action Councils, and Food and Water Watch.

Music will be provided by several northern Michigan artists, including Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, Rachael Davis and Dominic John Davis. Rally-goers are invited to bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon enjoying one of Michigan’s most scenic and environmentally fragile spots.

How to get there

Make the drive to the event in your own car, ride with friends, or sign up for a rideshare to give or get a ride. A number of buses from various cities in the Midwest are also being organized.

Click here for a map showing the location of Bridge View State Park.

* The Rally was inspired by an October 2012 National Wildlife Federation report, "Sunken Hazard: Aging oil pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac an ever-present threat to the Great Lakes."

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