Enbridge Line 5 draft EIS denounced as “a very dangerous plan” in Wisconsin 2022 State of the Tribes address

February 24, 2022

Barbara With

On February 22, Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians delivered the 2022 State of the Tribes Address from the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chambers in Madison.

President Holsey’s remarks on behalf of all Wisconsin Tribes included sharp criticism of the Enbridge Line 5 draft Environmental Impact Statement conducted by an Enbridge-affiliated consultant for the Wisconsin DNR. Calling it, “woefully in adequate” Holsey said Line 5 threatens harm to Tribal nations and Great Lakes water.

“We are we are extremely concerned with the inadequate environmental analysis of Enbridge Line 5 pipeline reroute. It does grave injustice to frontline tribal communities The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for determining whether infrastructure projects proposals in the State are environmentally sound. In December, the department released as we understand a draft which we believe on an environmental review was a very dangerous plan by Enbridge energy to relocate part of Line 5 oil pipeline where it runs through the Bad River watershed. Both the plan and the environmental review did not factor the hazards this proposal creates for the surrounding communities, including the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Chippewa Indians, as well as the ecosystems of the surrounding rivers and the local drinking water supply.

“The pipeline crosses over 280 rivers and streams that flow indirectly into the Great Lakes waters that supply drinking water to over 40 million people. The Great Lakes are the lifeblood of tribal nations across Ontario, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan who depend on this connected tributaries coastal waters, groundwater aquifers, and fish and plant populations to sustain their supply of water, food, and ancient medicines for well over 10,000 years. Safeguarding these tributaries and coastal wetlands is critical to maintaining the deeply rooted connection to the natural world and emotional well being and our cultural traditions.”

Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, 2022 Wisconsin State of the Tribes Address

Holsey closed her speech, the 18th annual State of the Tribes Address, reminding the legislators of the grim history of her people in Wisconsin. “The tribal nations here today represent the resilience of our ancestors. We are the seeds that descended from those who survived forced removals, genocide, termination and assimilation. Generation after generation, indigenous people have tenaciously and hung on to defend their languages, lands, cultures and their people with resilience and determination once thought of a remnant of humans’ past that disappeared in the fog of history. Indigenous peoples and their ancient wisdom are more relevant than ever and against all odds we are still here today.”

She left some stinging words for her mostly white audience:

“It is said that if you are not hungry for justice, equity, and inclusion, it is perhaps because you are too full of privilege. Quite honestly, I don’t know about you, but I’m starving.”

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