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Michigan tribes to paddle the Mackinac Straits in protest of Line 5

protesters against Line 5 on the water
Courtesy of Andrea Pierce
Protesters on the water at last year's Pipe Out Paddle Protest.

This Saturday, a flotilla of kayaks, paddleboards, and birch bark canoes will paddle out into the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

It's the fourth annual Pipe Out Paddle Protest against the pair of oil and natural gas liquids pipelines known as Line 5 that lie beneath the Straits. 

The Canadian-owned Enbridge Company that owns Line 5 has been trying to alleviate concerns about the 65-year-old pipeline, but the pressure to shut down the pipeline is increasing. 

Andrea Pierce, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and the activist group Idle No More Michigan, joined Stateside to tell us about why they are protesting this weekend. 

Pierce said the potential for a spill in the water is what's driving the protest, saying, "I don't think we would ever come back as a Native people if that happened to our tribe, if the water was destroyed."

Listen above to hear who is participating in the paddle out, and why Pierce thinks "everything" is at stake when it comes to protecting Michigan's water.

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In full disclosure, Enbridge Energy is one of Michigan Radio's many corporate sponsors.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported Enbridge Line 5 transports liquid natural gas. That is not correct. It transports light crude and natural gas liquids.

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