Great Lakes Tribal Nations urge Biden administration to condemn Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline

(UI) — On Feb. 28, 30 Tribal Nations in the Great Lakes region sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging the United States to speak out against the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline’s presence on the Bad River Band’s land.

In June 2023, a federal district court held that Enbridge has been knowingly trespassing on the Bad River Reservation since 2013 and ordered them to stop operating Line 5 on tribal land by 2026. Enbridge appealed the case to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, referring to a treaty agreement from the 1970s that prevents oil flow interruptions between the U.S. and Canada. The company maintains that Line 5 is imperative to energy security.

The court requested federal input in December 2023, but the Biden administration has not responded. At the oral argument held before a Seventh Circuit panel on February 8, Judge Frank Easterbrook called the United States’ silence “extraordinary.”

Line 5 transports up to 23 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas liquids daily from western to eastern Canada, cutting across the treaty-reserved territory of Tribal Nations including the Bad River Band in Wisconsin and the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan.

“A pipeline company’s control of the Bad River would devastate our seasonal fisheries, the resources necessary for wild rice life cycle, and the flood protection safety the River plain provides,” said Bad River Tribal Chairman Robert Blanchard.


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