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Chicagoans Call for Canada to Support Closing Line 5

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021   

CHICAGO -- Groups concerned about water quality and the environment are asking Canadian as well as U.S. officials to back efforts to close the Line 5 dual pipelines, which have spilled more than a million gallons of oil into the Great Lakes in the last 70 years.

Officials in Michigan have ordered Enbridge Energy of Canada, to close the pipelines, but they have ignored the order as they challenge it in court.

Sean McBrearty, coordinator for the Oil and Water Don't Mix Coalition, said Canada shares responsibility to protect the water.

"You can protect our Great Lakes and our climate and support shutting down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, and you need to do so," McBrearty asserted. "Or you can support Enbridge and its fossil-fuel agenda. But you can't do both."

Activists and environmentalists in Chicago gathered near the Canadian consulate to protest Canada's continued support for Line 5. They say the gas pipeline, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan, is a regional concern and protecting Great Lakes waters is a priority for Chicagoans.

In addition to the pipeline putting the Straits of Mackinac and other Great Lakes waters at risk for oil spills, McBrearty said continued use of Line 5 supports the burning of fossil fuels. And according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, countries need to cut global emissions in half by 2030, and go 'net-zero' by 2050, to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

"Enbridge's current business model of operating pipelines until failure is not only a threat to our largest body of fresh water in the world," McBrearty argued. "According to Enbridge, it could cause massive disruptions to energy supplies and our economy."

Canadian officials have cited possible disruptions while lobbying the U.S. to keep Line 5 open, but the Oil and Water Don't Mix Coalition urged them to focus instead on a national energy policy that protects the Great Lakes. Activists also gathered in Detroit, Milwaukee and Windsor.


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