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Michigan tribes warn of disaster from pipeline spill in Great Lakes

Tribal members call for the shutdown of Line 5 in Michigan. Photo by Erica F / Twitter

Michigan tribes are joining environmental groups in calling for the closure of an aging oil pipeline in the Great Lakes.

Enbridge Energy built Line 5 across the Straits of Mackinac in 1953. A spill would devastate water, fish and other natural resources.

"We believe that a spill in the straits area of this pipeline is imminent," Chairperson Aaron Payment of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to remarks posted by Soo Today.

Eight tribes have passed resolutions calling for the decommission of the pipeline, Payment said. Four more are planning to do so, representing all 12 federally recognized tribes in the state.

"Mackinac is an Objiwe word for turtle," Payment said. "In these depictions, Mackinac Island will be completely engulfed in oil. Within the amount of time that this unfolds, the island will be engulfed. The water inlets will be completely destroyed. There will be a very narrow window for people to be evacuated."

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Ottawa Indians also participated in a protest on Tuesday calling for the shutdown of Pipeline 5.

Get the Story:
Groups renew push for removal of pipeline (The Sault Ste. Marie Evening News 5/27)
Amid policy conference, activist groups protest oil pipeline (Michigan Daily 5/27)
Pipeline disaster 'imminent,' warns Sault Tribe chairman (Soo Today 5/28)
Group calls for Enbridge Mackinac pipelines to be shut down (The Detroit Free Press 5/28)
This Aging Oil Pipeline Is In Great Lakes' 'Worst Possible Place' For A Spill (The Huffington Post 5/22)

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