A lawsuit against Enbridge Inc. was filed on Tuesday by the Bad River band of Lake Superior Chippewa aimed at forcing the company to shut down Line 5 pipeline that crosses tribal lands in northern Wisconsin.
Line 5 pipeline transports oil and natural gas liquids from Canada to Michigan. This includes a controversial section that runs along the bed of the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Enbridge is seeking to build a tunnel beneath the straits for a new pipeline, but tribal officials say that they no longer want Enbridge to operate the pipeline on tribal lands and fear that a rupture would pose grave environmental damage to the Bad River and other waters that flow to Lake Superior.
“As a community, we are sick of having to bear the fear and anxiety of this line being a constant threat to our community and resources,” said Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings, a tribal member. An Enbridge pipeline spill in 2010 on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan took years and more than $1 billion to clean up.
“Enbridge has been in good faith negotiations with the Bad River band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribe regarding these easements since 2013,” said Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner in a statement. Line 5 pipeline crosses about 12 miles of reservation lands, according to court documents.