Sign displayed during the Sept. 6, 2015, protest against Line 5 at the Mackinac Bridge. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
CHARLEVOIX TOWNSHIP -- Charlevoix Township recently became the 25th community in Michigan to pass a resolution calling on Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to stop the oil flowing through Enbridge’s 63-year-old Line 5 pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.*
Four Indian tribes in Michigan and the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority that manages their fishery also support stopping the nearly 23 million gallons of oil flowing through Line 5 in the Mackinac Straits, which University of Michigan experts have called the "worst possible place for an oil spill in the Great Lakes."**
Dozens of organizations, hundreds of businesses, and thousands of individuals also support efforts by the Oil and Water Don’t Mix campaign to prevent a catastrophic oil spill in the Great Lakes, which drive the Pure Michigan economy and provide drinking water to millions of people. Enbridge has a history of oil spills from Line 5 -- which runs from Superior, Wis., to Sarnia, Ont., and is responsible for 2010’s million-gallon oil spill disaster into the Kalamazoo River.
In response to the 25th-community milestone, partners in the Oil and Water Don’t Mix Campaign issued the following statements:
"The passage of the resolution by Charlevoix Township is historic: Since the beginning of November, a total of 25 communities and four tribes across the State of Michigan have taken action and called on Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to stop the flow of oil in the Straits of Mackinac," said Mariah Urueta, Michigan Organizer for Food and Water Watch, noting that the resolution has passed easily in virtually every place it has been introduced.
Mariah Urueta of Food and Water Watch speaks against the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline during the Sept. 6, 2015, Pipe Out! Paddle protest at the Mackinac Bridge. Urueta helped organize the event with Food and Water Watch and tribal groups. At right is Aaron Payment, Tribal chairperson for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (representing himself as an Anishinaabe individual) who commented on the need for tribal representation on Michigan Governor Snyder's Task Force and Committee dealing with pipeline issues in the Great Lakes.***
"In addition, citizens are working with many more local governments to pass resolutions that support shutting down Line 5," Urueta added. "To anyone listening, the message is clear: Michiganders don’t want this pipeline to continue operating for another day. It poses too great a risk to the Great Lakes, our communities, and our economy. It’s time to shut down Line 5."
"We have attended countless community meetings in towns all across northern Michigan," said Joanne Cromley of Straits Area Concerned Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment. "There is overwhelming support everywhere we go for stopping the flow of oil in Line 5 immediately. This is not a partisan issue. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are concerned about the threats posed by this 63-year-old pipeline owned by Enbridge, and we’ll keep working with local governments on resolutions until the governor or attorney general does right by the people of Michigan and shuts down Line 5."
"It’s been eight months since Attorney General Schuette said that Line 5’s 'days are numbered,' but the Great Lakes still remain at risk of a disastrous oil spill," said Kelly Thayer, a campaigner for FLOW (For Love of Water). "Communities have spoken out because they know that these dented, cracked, and rusted old pipelines won’t last forever. Today we again call on the governor and attorney general to take quick action and use their authority to shut down Line 5."
* At present, 27 local governments are supporting shutting down Line 5. Some of their resolutions as well as a list of supporters among communities, tribes, business, and organizations can be viewed on the Oil and Water Don't Mix Web site. See more updates on the Oil and Water Don't Mix Facebook page.
** Click here for the list of tribal supporters and links to their resolutions.
*** See videos with statements by Urueta, Payment and others in our Sept. 30, 2015, article, "Two protests near Mackinac Bridge defend Native treaty rights, oppose UP mining projects and Enbridge Line 5: Videos, photos."