Bad River Band Calls for Removal of Pipeline
The Pipeline Has Been in Operation for More than 60 Years
For the Bad river band, the land they live on has provided their livelihood for hundreds of years.
“Things we do, collect medicine, collect maple syrup, hunting, fishing…” Robert Blanchard, the Tribal Chairman of the Bad River Tribal Council listed.
But tribal members believe that could all be under threat, because of Enbridge’s Line 5. It’s a pipeline that has been operating through the Bad River Band’s Reservation since 1954.
“If that line breaks, we have a lot at stake,” said Blanchard.
Enbridge and the Bad River band have been negotiating a new agreement for more than 3 years, since parts of the line’s easement rights of way expired in 2013, but after discussing it thoroughly and talking with tribal members, the Bad river tribal council decided to call for the decommission and removal of line 5.
“We expect there to be resistance, so anything is on the table at this point and we’re prepared for anything that happens,” said Dylan Jennings, a member of the Tribal Council.
It’s a move to protect their water source and land.
“It’s absolutely imperative that we leave this place the way we want our great great great grandchildren to have it,” said Jennings.
But Enbridge representatives believe that Line 5 that runs right here is a vital link to propane and other energy supplies to northern Wisconsin, and Enbridge and the Bad River Band still have an agreement that lasts into 2040.
“It provides a vital piece of infrastructure to heat the homes to fuel the cars of individuals of Wisconsin and Michigan, so it’s important for people to realize that and recognize that,” said Trent Wetmore, the Director of Operations for the Superior Region of Enbridge.
Enbridge representatives plan to communicate with the Bad River Band on how to move forward
“We’re going to continue to reach out and to work with the band and just trying to understand the overall concerns that they have, and see what the next steps are,” said Wetmore.
But Tribal Representatives say they are firm on their decision,
“We’re doing this not only for our Bad River membership and community, but for the whole surrounding area, whether people agree with it or not, it’s for the people of this area who call it home,” said Jennings.