The Line 5 Pipeline is 68 years old, operated by Enbridge and carries 87 million litres of fossil fuel per day, running from Superior, Wisconsin through Michigan and ending in Sarnia, Ontario. The pipeline also runs through the Great Lakes which are very important for the millions and millions of people around them, supporting recreation, agriculture and supplying drinking water.
This pipeline and other lines operated by Enbridge in Michigan have a history of spills. The largest inland oil spill in U.S. history occurred when Enbridge’s Line 6B pipeline spilled more than 800,000 gallons of crude tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. That spill is still affecting both animals and people.
Enbridge wants to rebuild the pipeline and build a tunnel through the Straits of Mackinac allowing the pipeline to operate for many more decades. They say when the work is finished, the pipeline will be safer. However, the longer the pipeline is in operation, the more carbon dioxide it will release into the atmosphere - and that’s not safe for anyone!
The Michigan governor wanted to shut the pipeline down by May 12th, 2021, but Enbridge intends to continue running it until the courts order them to shut it down. The company says without the Line 5 Pipeline, there will be a shortage of crude oil in Michigan, in other nearby states, and in Eastern Canada. In actuality, the oil transportation system across North America has enough backup pipelines that there will be no shortage, especially if the wind-down we need to see, to protect our air and water and avert some of the worst impacts of climate chaos, takes place in time.
Despite this reality and in direct opposition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making sure that all living beings on Mother Earth have a safe future, the Government of Canada, and many provincial governments have stated they support the Line 5 pipeline and are fighting to keep the pipeline from being shut down.
The world needs to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent global temperatures from warming more than 1.5°C. That means keeping fossil fuels in the ground - no new fossil fuel projects and a shut down of the existing ones. Canada can’t meet the above target if they are continuing to support fossil fuel infrastructure.
Many Indigenous people and tribes across Turtle Island support the shutdown including the Anishinabek Nation in Ontario which put out a public statement against Line 5.
Toronto350, a climate justice organization, supports the shut down of the Line 5 Pipeline.