Birkie Drops Enbridge Energy Sponsorship, Says Relationship Doesn’t Align with Race’s Values

The dissolving of this agreement comes months after Enbridge started its controversial Line 3 Pipeline replacement project.

HAYWARD, Wis.- The largest cross-country ski race in the country, the American Birkebeiner or “Birkie” is taking a stand against what they see as environmental concerns with Enbridge Energy — dropping the corporation as a sponsor for this year’s race.

According to a letter on the Birkie website, they are dissolving their previous agreement, after “we heard from some in the Birkie community regarding our relationship with Enbridge Energy.”

The letter continues, saying “in hindsight, we realize that this association was perhaps not a clear pathway to engaging conversation in support of education, future change, and ultimately our greater Birkie Green initiatives,” which includes work to “collectively create change, over time, toward less reliance on fossil fuels in our everyday lives.”

Meanwhile, Enbridge has already begun construction on the Line 3 Replacement in Northern Minnesota at the end of November, after state regulators approved the final permits for the $2.6 billion project — despite lawsuits and continued opposition from Minnesota tribes.

A spokesperson from Enbridge released a statement to FOX 21, reading in part:

It should be noted that fuel for the machinery that grooms the Birkie ski trails, poly fibers and plastics in cross country ski clothing and gear, and millions of other products – from computers to heart monitors, medical supplies to warm winter coats and camping gear – are derived from crude oil. Enbridge pipelines safely transport the energy that fuels our economy.

Sadly, the Birkie has chosen to end our sponsorship, dissolve our agreement and return our sponsorship money.  Enbridge plans to donate the money to a different non-profit organization serving the Hayward area, in keeping with our tradition of community investment.

The 2021 Birkie is set to take place February 24-28.

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