Water Protectors urge Biden to Decommission Line 5 and invest in renewable energy

March 3, 2022 by Line 5 Coalition members

On Wednesday, March 2nd, a diverse coalition of about 50 people gathered to greet President Joe Biden in Superior, Wisconsin, urging him to address the climate emergency, honor the treaties with Indigenous nations, and shut down the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. President Biden’s motorcade drove by demonstrators twice and the First Lady Jill Biden waved at participants. 

President Biden’s limousine drove by Water Protectors in Superior, WI during his visit on March 2, 2022.

Anticipating President Biden’s infrastructure speech, the group voiced support for clean energy funding in the infrastructure package, while calling for a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure in favor of 21st century renewable energy investments.

The coalition included residents of northern Wisconsin and Duluth, MN, tribal members from the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and people who traveled from Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Michigan. Students from UW-Superior and University of Minnesota Duluth also participated in the demonstration. The oldest participant was a 90-year-old military veteran carrying a simple homemade cardboard sign opposing Line 5. 

Water Protectors outside the Douglas County Courthouse March 2, 2022.

Among the messages the group shared were “Climate Can’t Wait”, “No More MMIW”, “Shut Down Line 5,” “Exxon Knew,” “Treaty Rights Not Oil Pipelines”, Water is Life, and Ojibwe language messages such as “aambe omaa niimin saasaakwe miindoomooyenh”.

This week the city of Superior agreed to work with federal, state, and local governments on a $18.5 million project to clean up contamination in Lake Superior’s Howards Bay. Participants voiced support for this effort, while highlighting that Line 5 is at imminent risk for catastrophic spills into Lake Superior at the Bad River Reservation in northern Wisconsin, and directly into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron at the Straits of Mackinac, where waters from all three of these lakes intermingle. These lakes are the drinking water source for millions of people and underlie major economic activity in these regions, including tourism, fishing, real estate, recreation, a strong and growing sustainable agriculture base, and education. 

The US Army Corps and Wisconsin DNR are currently considering permits for a proposed reroute of Line 5 around the Bad River Reservation in northern Wisconsin. The proposed route would cross through 184 waterways upstream of the Bad River Reservation, threatening drinking water and critical food sources. Line 5 also poses high risks stretching from Copper Falls State Park to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

The Bad River Reservation is home to the Kakagon and Bad River sloughs, the only extensive wild rice bed remaining on the Great Lakes, recognized as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention.

The 69 year old Enbridge Line 5 pipeline carries oil from Canada through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan back to Canada again. Only 2% of that oil is used in Wisconsin.

The demonstration comes just days after the International Panel on Climate Change released its bleakest warning to date on the global impacts of the climate emergency. The report details human actions that are driving the crisis and states that the window for action is closing. 

COMMENT to the Wisconsin DNR by March 18th >> https://bit.ly/3CbASxR 

COMMENT to the US Army Corps by March 22nd >> https://bit.ly/3toveo9

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