Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Food and Water Watch to hold Sept. 24 press conference to call for preventing oil spill in Straits of Mackinac

At Bridge View Park in St. Ignace, near the north end of the Mackinac Bridge (at right, background) concerned citizens at the July 14, 2013, Oil and Water Don't Mix rally against the Enbridge Pipeline (note sign: "60-year-old Time Bomb") listen as speakers, including Bill McKibben, 350.org founder, talk about the dangers of Enbridge's Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac. This Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, this same park will be the scene of a press conference/ protest to call attention once more to the dangers of an oil spill in the Straits. (Keweenaw Now file photo)*

ST. IGNACE, Mich. -- While Enbridge conducts an oil spill response drill in the Straits of Mackinac on Thursday, Sept. 24, Food and Water Watch -- a non-profit group that champions healthy food and clean water for all -- will hold a press conference to call attention to Enbridge’s shaky safety record. The group will unite with allies and concerned citizens near the Straits of Mackinac to call on Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 before the winter ice appears.

The press conference will take place at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at Bridge View Park, Boulevard Drive, in St. Ignace.

Food and Water Watch warns that our state lawmakers need to be precautionary and not reactionary when it comes to protecting the Great Lakes.

During the Sept. 6, 2015, rally at the Mackinac Bridge near St. Ignace, protesters hold signs expressing concerns about Enbridge's Line 5 under the Straits. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)**

Line 5 is a 62-year-old oil and gas pipeline owned by Enbridge that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. According to a University of Michigan Study, the Straits are the "worst possible place" in the Great Lakes for a spill. Enbridge’s shaky track record includes one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history when roughly one million gallons of tar sands oil spilled near Kalamazoo in 2010. Of particular concern is that the U.S. Coast Guard testified before Congress this year and indicated that they wouldn’t be able to respond effectively to a spill in the Great Lakes. Further, Enbridge appears to have no plan for how to recover oil if a spill were to occur in the winter when the lakes are covered with ice.

Speakers at the event will be Lynna Kaucheck, Food and Water Watch; Aaron Payment, chair, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; Phil Parr, local business representative.

Aaron Payment, chair, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, speaks at a Sept. 6, 2015, press conference during the rally against Enbridge's Line 5 in Mackinaw City. Several Native American leaders spoke to the media about their concern for the Great Lakes. Payment will also speak at the Sept. 24 press conference to be held at Bridge View Park, St. Ignace. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)***

Participants are welcome to hold signs.

Following Payment's talk, Mariah Urueta of Food and Water Watch speaks at the Sept. 6, 2015, press conference during the rally against Enbridge's Line 5. Urueta said she helped organize this event. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)**

Driving directions to park:

- Go to the US 2 exit off I-75

- Go west of 75 for a quarter mile

- Turn south at the moose statue at Boulevard Dr.

- Go all the way down towards the water. The park will be on the left. There is a big entrance sign.

Food and Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. They help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to their homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.


* See our July 22, 2013, article, "Videos, photos: 'Oil and Water Don't Mix' rally draws hundreds concerned about Great Lakes." 

** Watch for a story, coming soon, on the Sept. 6, 2015, protests at both the north and south ends of the Mackinac Bridge.

*** See video clips of Aaron Payment's talk about tribal opposition to Line 5 at a May 27, 2015, press conference on Mackinac Island in our June 17, 2015, article.

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