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Save the Great Lakes from a dangerous pipeline

12,151
Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Delivery to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Action Ended On

December 17, 2020

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We're grateful for your support.

What was at Stake

The Great Lakes are the largest source of fresh water in the world, supplying drinking water for 48 million people. Right now, oil giant Enbridge is seeking a permit for a massive fossil fuel tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac, a 4-mile-wide waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Send a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today to show your opposition to Enbridge’s Line 5 oil tunnel.

The Canadian oil company is proposing to replace the existing Line 5 pipelines that run along the lake bottom at the Straits of Mackinac. Along the length of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, there have been more than 30 oil spills, resulting in millions of gallons of oil spilling into waterways. If Enbridge secures the necessary permits to build the Line 5 oil tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac, the company would be allowed to operate the pipeline for 99 years. This would cause further damage and destruction to the waters, to threatened and endangered species in this habitat, and prop up the use of fossil fuels, further imperiling the planet when we should be transitioning to clean, renewable energy.

The Straits of Mackinac hold deep cultural, spiritual, and economic significance for the Bay Mills Indian Community; an oil spill would not only devastate commercial fisheries, but would also threaten Bay Mills’ very identity. According to the oral history of Bay Mills, the Straits and the Great Lakes are the heart of the creation of North America. The Straits are more than a waterway, they are a place where life began.

Enbridge, however, has a long history of pipeline ruptures and poor inspection practices. The pipeline company also caused the largest inland oil spill in our nation’s history when another one of its pipelines released nearly one million gallons of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. There is no need to allow another destructive pipeline to operate.

Earthjustice, in partnership with the Native American Rights Fund, represents the Bay Mills Indian Community in the Tribe’s fight to protect the Straits and the Tribe’s treaty rights throughout waters in Michigan. We need your help to stop this dangerous pipeline. We can’t sit back and allow an oil giant to strong-arm its way into building this massive tunnel project. Please write to the Army Corps and urge them to deny the permits.

Whitney Gravelle

Bob Gravelle, Bay Mills Tribal citizen, fishes on Spectacle Lake in Bay Mills.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.