Line 5 is a 645-mile pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy that transports crude oil and natural gas liquids from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario. The 69-year-old pipeline has ruptured at least 30 times in the past 50 years, releasing more than 1 million gallons of oil.
The Great Lakes are the lifeblood of Tribal Nations across Ontario, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who depend on its connected tributaries, coastal waters, groundwater aquifers, and fish and plant populations to sustain their supply of drinking water, food, and ancient medicines.
In 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released a deeply flawed draft environmental review of a dangerous plan by Enbridge Energy to relocate part of the Line 5 oil pipeline where it runs through the Bad River watershed. Both the plan and the environmental review utterly failed to analyze the hazards this proposal creates for the surrounding communities, including the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, as well as the ecosystems of the surrounding rivers and the local drinking water supply.
Earthjustice represents the Bad River Band in challenging the environmental review of the pipeline.
The Tribe’s Reservation sits within the Bad River watershed, a critical Lake Superior tributary that spans over 1,000 miles of interconnected rivers including the White River (Waabishkaa-ziibi) and the Bad River (Mashkiigon-ziibi). The watershed is the cultural epicenter of the Bad River Band, and keeping it healthy has major environmental and economic significance.
In a related case, the Bay Mills Indian Community, an Ojibwe Tribal Nation, is advocating and litigating to shut down the Line 5 pipeline and prevent a proposed tunnel project underneath the Great Lakes. Earthjustice is representing Bay Mills in its legal fight.