“Corrupting influence” of fossil fuels called out on WI DNR’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for Line 5

February 22, 2022

Barbara WIth

In January 2020, tenured professor Greg Mikkelson resigned from his position at McGill University because of the school’s failure to divest of fossil fuels.

Mikkelson taught the philosophy of biology and environmental ethics at the Canadian university. In September 2018, he brought forward a motion requesting that the school fully divest from fossil fuels.

Greg Mikkelson

“Because of the subject matter I research and teach, it became clear that this kind of action is imperative,” Mikkelson said. Even though the motion was approved in a majority vote of the McGill Senate, the Board of Governors – after a long delay – refused to divest.

“When our board decided for the third time in seven years to defy the overwhelming democratic mandate that has developed for that divestment here on campus, I just decided to look for an organization that is both more democratic and more sincerely committed to saving the planet,” said Mikkelson about his resignation.

Mikkelson recently testified at the Wisconsin DNR’s public hearing concerning Enbridge Line 5 draft environmental impact statement. His family goes back five generations in northern Wisconsin, and said said he quit his job because of the corrupting influence by the fossil fuel industry on McGill.

“Unfortunately, I read the same kind of influence at work in the draft EIS under consideration tonight,” Mikkelson said at the public hearing.

He delivered a declaration dated February 11, 2022 and signed by over 30 Canadian organizations calling on the DNR to resist the pressure of regulatory capture. The declaration opposes Line 5 and supports the Bad RIver Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who have sued Enbridge to remove the line from their watershed.

We, the undersigned organizations in Québec, welcome the actions, and affirm the rights, of Lake Superior Chippewa bands and the State of Michigan to shut down Enbridge Line 5. We who reside near Line 9 in Quebec or Ontario, also live and work literally downstream of Line 5 regarding the flow of both water and oil. But the whole Earth lies figuratively downstream, since the pipeline drives growth in fossil fuel production and consumption, whereas both must now shrink by 5-10% every year to stem climate chaos. Governments must reject obsolete assumptions about the need for oil, and work together to protect the public. The pandemic proves it is possible.

Enbridge should have stopped pumping oil and gas through Line 5 in 2017, when the Bad River Band revoked the easement for it to cross their reservation. Even more so in 2021 when Michigan revoked the easement for it to cross the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge has defied both shutdown orders, and proposed 42 miles of new pipeline and a new underwater tunnel instead. We denounce all of these moves by the company, since they violate Indigenous and democratic rights, threaten rich local ecosystems and the Great Lakes, and would further lock in North America’s disastrous addiction to fossil fuel.

• To the Bad River Tribe, other Lake Superior Chippewa, and State of Michigan:
WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT your efforts to safeguard the biosphere, including the world’s largest bodies of freshwater on which we all depend.

• To Enbridge corporation:
STOP TREADING ON DEMOCRACY AND INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY, ripping through woods and waterways, and undermining the future.

• To the Government of Canada:
In your attempt to prolong use of this decrepit and dangerous pipeline by invoking an outdated treaty with the United States, YOU DO NOT SPEAK IN OUR NAME.

• To the Government of Québec:
We hail your recent decision to end all production of fossil fuel in our province, and urge you to JOIN THE CALL TO SHUT DOWN LINE 5.

• To the State of Wisconsin:
We applaud the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change for recommending to “AVOID ALL NEW FOSSIL FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE”. Please now affirm the obvious fact that 42 miles of new pipeline, following a new route, would violate this recommendation. Prevent construction of this new infrastructure, and shut the old pipeline down.

Signatories as of February 11th, 2022

Organizations in Québec

Action Environnement Basses-Laurentides
Les Amis de la Chicot de Saint-Cuthbert
Association des Infirmiers et Infirmières pour l’Environnement
Citoyens au Courant
Coalition Étudiante pour un Virage Environnemental et Social
Comité de Vigilance Environnementale de l’Est de Montréal
Comité des Citoyen(ne)s de Milton Parc
Comité Vigilance Hydrocarbures Brandon
Conseil Central du Montréal Métropolitain-Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux Conseil des Canadiens
Eau Secours
Équiterre
Extinction Rebellion Québec
Fondation David Suzuki
Justice Climatique Montréal
Mères au Front
Mouvement d’Action Régionale en Environnement
Nature Hudson
Non à une Marée Noire dans le Saint-Laurent
La Planète s’Invite au Parlement
Prospérité sans Pétrole
Quit RBC
Regroupement Vigilance Hydrocarbures Québec
SOS Territoire

Allied Organizations

Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines Environmental Defence
Extinction Rebellion Ottawa
Idle No More, London

Rising Tide Toronto
Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health Toronto350

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