Sierra Club
Press Release

Majority (63%) of Line 5 comments show strong opposition

Climate, Treaty Rights, Waterways rank among highest areas of concern

By - Oct 20th, 2022 01:06 pm

MADISON- Today, 350 Wisconsin and Sierra Club Wisconsin released an analysis of the 32,000 comments that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received in response to the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 expansion. The analysis shows that a large majority of the unprecedented 32,000 comments oppose Line 5. The DEIS was released in December and the DNR accepted comments through April 15.

Elizabeth Ward, Chapter Director of the Sierra Club – Wisconsin Chapter stated, “This analysis makes it clear what we have known all along- Enbridge’s proposed expansion of the Line 5 pipeline is too dangerous for our climate, water, and Lake Superior. We cannot afford it.”

The analysis found that 63% (about 20,000 of the 32,000) of commenters want the DNR to deny permits for Enbridge’s Line 5 proposal. This follows the hearing that DNR held, where 88% (147 of 167 commenters) of those who gave testimony opposing the line. The majority of comments listed climate change, treaty rights, waterways, wetlands, and Lake Superior as areas of concern.

The biggest inaccuracy that was found among pro-project comments was the idea that Enbridge’s proposal avoids sensitive resources and avoids the concerns that led to the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Bad River) opting not to renew Enbridge’s lease on their land. However, Bad River’s own comments affirm their opposition to any Enbridge pipeline in the treaty-protected Bad River watershed:

” …to fully comply with the repeated resolutions of the Band, Enbridge must remove the pipeline from the entire Mashkiigon-ziibi (Bad River) watershed. Enbridge’s proposal to locate the pipeline around and upstream of the Bad River Reservation still unreasonably interferes with the Band’s treaty- protected rights to fish, hunt, and gather, and to control the use of its lands consistent with public health, safety, and welfare.”

In September, a federal Judge confirmed that Enbridge has been trespassing on Bad River’s land and the Bad River v Enbridge case will be going to trial in Madison.

Phyllis Hasbrouck, organizer for 350 Wisconsin explained, “Enbridge has a terrible record of polluting leaks and pipeline ruptures. We don’t want Northern Wisconsin to be devastated the way that Northern Minnesota was last year, when Enbridge breached aquifers and contaminated waterways and groundwater with drilling fluids while installing Line 3. These comments show that Wisconsinites understand what’s at stake here: our drinking water and Lake Superior itself.”

Greg Mikkelson, Ecological Economist at the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, noted that “The written comments submitted to the DNR strongly confirm what became clear at the public hearing last February: Our fellow citizens demand the governor and DNR stand up for Earth’s climate, the rights of Indigenous people, and our forestland and waterways; and stand up against Canadian bully Enbridge that is willing to sacrifice all of the above.”

Comment by comment analysis is available to all reporters

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Majority (63%) of Line 5 comments show strong opposition

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