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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Tribe in northern Wisconsin sues to force Line 5 shutdown

map of Line 5
Enbridge Energy
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A tribe in northern Wisconsin is suing Enbridge Energy to try to force the closure of Line 5.

Dylan Jennings is a council member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.  He says the pipeline is an increasing threat to a fragile watershed. 

"A rupture in the line would be absolutely catastrophic to our people, our resources and everything that we depend upon," says Jennings.  Moreover, "there's a river channel which is migrating towards the pipeline at an alarming rate, which means that it's getting really dangerously close to being exposed."

The lawsuit also says Enbridge's easements through the tribe's reservation have expired.

But Enbridge claims the "vast majority" of its easements on tribal reservations either do not expire until 2043, or are perpetual ones on private land.

Meanwhile, the state of Michigan is also suing Enbridge to try to get Line 5 shut down, and tribes near the straits of Mackinac have also called for it to shut down.

Update: Thursday, July 25 at 10:30 a.m.

Enbridge said in a statement Thursday it's "surprised and disappointed" by the lawsuit. The company says it has considered rerouting Line 5 around the reservation and remains open to that as a solution.

Enbridge Energy is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

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