Justice, Peace and Sustainability Weekly Announcement
April 19, 2018
Protect the Great Lakes: Shut Down Line Five
Every day, nearly 23 million gallons of oil flow through two aging pipelines in the heart of the Great Lakes, just west of the Mackinac Bridge. Built in 1953, the two 20-inch-in-diameter “Line 5” pipelines owned by Canadian company Enbridge, Inc. lie exposed in the water at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The oil flowing through the Line 5 pipelines is coming from Canada and taking a shortcut through Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac before crossing back into Canada near Port Huron. The pipelines run about 1,000 feet apart at depths ranging from 100 to 270 feet. Enbridge officials have said that properly maintained pipelines can last indefinitely, but the company’s history of major spills in Michigan and across North America raises concerns.
Since the 2010 Enbridge spill into the Kalamazoo River, the nation’s largest land-based oil spill, concerns have increased over the devastating effects an oil spill from Line 5 would have on the Great Lakes ecosystem. The pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac cross one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the world. The Great Lakes are home to 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet. A spill in the turbulent waters of the Straits could affect 700 miles of Great Lakes coastline and would poison the drinking water source upon which millions of people rely. Earlier this month, an anchor strike in the Straits of Mackinac damaged the pipelines, further demonstrating their vulnerability.
Michigan Interfaith Power and Light (of which IHM Sisters is a member) has initiated an interfaith letter supporting the decommissioning of the pipeline. The IHM Leadership Council has endorsed the letter and you can too. Click here to sign on. The letter will be delivered in person by interfaith leaders to Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette on Monday, April 23, the 65th anniversary of the pipeline.