Shut Down Line 5 Action Camp in Detroit

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The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) hosted an art build/skillshare with the People’s Water Board Coalition at the General Baker Institute in Detroit in January 2022. 

The water is life prints pictured were designed by @jamie_john.jpg (Jamie John). Check out Riverwise Magazine Fall Issue 17 for three Line 3 & 5 related articles by Katey Carey, Valerie Jean, and Deb Hansen.

Follow the MICATS FB page for more art builds, monthly zoom calls, and flotilla practices – culminating in an #8SDL5-We Are Shutting Down Line 5 Action Camp and The Water is Life Festival in northern MI at the end of Aug/beginning of Sept.

Samantha Cooper and Iris Potter testify at the Michigan Public Service Commission on March 17, 2022, to demand Line 5 be decommissioned. Enbridge Line 5 carries tar sands and any leak or spill along its route would be catastrophic to all of Michigan. 

Samantha Cooper’s testimony. 

Thank you for allowing us to give public comments. I’m here speaking for so many midwesterners who can’t be here today to express their grave concern for this project. I was a Kalamazoo resident during the Enbridge oil spill in 2010. I’m here now representing Kalamazoo Remembers, a grassroots organization that exists to remember the devastation of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill and to prevent further harm in other watersheds.

If pipelines are truly the safest way to transport oil (which I doubt) – then we must reassess because the spill rates for pipelines are abysmal, and many of the cleanups are woefully incomplete, including on the Kalamazoo River.

I know this because I’ve been present for Manoomin, or wild rice restoration projects on the river where there’s still a troubling sheen in the water, among other unremediated contaminants.

I’d like to read a quote from Christopher F. Jones of Time magazine from the article titled: There’s No Such Thing As a Spill-Proof Way to Transport Oil Historian Sean Kheraj has recently demonstrated that even a pipeline that has operated with a 99.999 percent success rate in Canada has averaged a spill-and-a-half a year and discharged about 5.8 million liters of oil over the past 40 years. A very low failure rate (one likely to be understated as it relies so heavily on self-reporting by leakers), therefore, can still produce heavy environmental damage.”

I spent much of last summer in Minnesota trying to help resist the line 3 Enbridge pipeline. I’m one of over 1000 defendants who were charged for attempting to peacefully protect the headwaters of the Mississippi, which suffered over 25 frac-outs by Enbridge shortly thereafter. I will be taking what I deem to be an unjust charge to trial later this year with my co-defendants. When I returned from Minnesota, I created a collaborative song and video expressing the asks of this broad based, growing water protector movement. The video single is called Let The Wave and I would be honored if each of you would consider watching it. As past behavior makes clear, Enbridge has not gained our trust. We need only the most trustworthy people to hold our waters in their hands. We also need energy sources that aren’t directly violating treaty rights and making us complicit in both ecological degradation and environmental racism. The UN Secretary General has called one of the most recent IPCC reports “code red for humanity.” We don’t need to move past debating about which way to transport oil and how much to invest in renewables, we have to. We don’t have a choice, and we don’t have time. We need to divest in oil companies and double down on renewable energy sources that guarantee a liveable future now. Thank you for listening. 

Iris Potter’s testimony.

-Dear Chairperson Scripps and Honored Commissioners, thank you for your service: My name is Iris Potter and a founding member of Kalamazoo Remembers which I am representing.  I was in the phone cue during the meeting but comment time, unfortunately, ended so I hope that you get a chance to read my comments. Kalamazoo Remembers is a local organization formed after Enbridge of Canada’s 2010 devastating, primarily tar sands oil spill of about a million gallons in Our River. It will never be the same and folks died along with our animal-plant life.  Kalamazoo Remembers is strongly opposed to Line 5 and a Tunnel so we strongly urge you to deny Enbridge’s permit application.I experienced the Enbridge disaster, so I never want that devastation to happen to more waterways in our State, including our precious, beautiful Straits and Great Lakes, the drinking water for 40 million people. Line 6B was a little over 40 years old and it burst. It is unfathomable how Line 5 is still open with 33 spills of over 1 million gallons already along its lengths, demonstrating a major lack of safety. Just because Line 5 would be in a tunnel, does not mean it cannot leak or explode. I went to the Kalamazoo the day of the spill to see for myself. I saw the oil, smelled the toxicity, and drove away quickly. But, it drove me, with others, to quickly get to work to prevent another massive spill.

Regarding public need, we presume you are already utilizing the 3 studies confirming that shutting down Line 5 will not result in major price increases or oil and gas shortages, along with the UP Energy Task Force findings about other comparable propane sources the State already has in place to enact quickly. Our water and land environments are what make Michigan!  Extremely toxic oil spill pollution, including the chemicals used to build a tunnel, would heavily impair or destroy habitats in our Lakes which are in our Public Trust as well as our health and safety. This tunnel idea poses a risk of explosion and PHMSA has already raised concerns about operating it.  You have the studies about methane-related explosions. Plus, Our State has strong climate goals which are way Not At All in line with a Line 5 Tunnel.

Of utmost importance, the Kalamazoo River, the Straits with its cultural sites, and our other waters are sacred to our Indigenous People. It is critical and seemingly the legal route that the tunnel not be built due to historic preservation. So, I strongly urge you to deny the permit to Enbridge which has already given us a horrible oil spill near my home. It is the logical and environmentally Only Step for you to take for the Public!  Water is Life!

Here’s a bit about MI CATS: “The MI CATS seek to unite people toward a common goal of stopping all transportation and refining of tar sands oil in the Great Lakes Basin” (and beyond).

Here’s a bit about the General Baker Institute: “We are a movement incubator (+ print shop + community hub) determined to follow the legacy of General Baker and others like him to transform fighters into thinkers and thinkers into fighters.  Our approach is focused on what we consider the pillars of movement building: – Political Education,  Arts and Culture, Projects of Survival, and Internationalism.”