Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wisconsin Native American tribe says 'no' to crude-oil pipeline through its reservation

MLive map of Enbridge pipelines; see below for closer map
of area at issue, west of Saxon at west end of Lake Superior
The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, a Native American tribe in Wisconsin, "has voted against renewing agreements allowing Enbridge Inc. to use their land for a major crude oil pipeline," Nia Williams reports for Reuters. "The Bad River Band decided not to renew easements on Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline last week because of concerns about the risk of oil spills, and called for the 64-year-old pipeline to be decommissioned and removed." Bad River Tribal Chairman Robert Blanchard said in a statement: "As many other communities have experienced, even a minor spill could prove to be disastrous for our people."

Calgary-based Enbridge, Canada's largest pipeline company, "said it had been discussing the easement renewals since before the agreements expired in 2013 and the pipeline had operated safely through the reservation since 1953, Williams writes. The company said in a statement on Monday: "We are surprised to learn of the Bad River Band’s decision not to renew individual easements within the reservation for Line 5 after negotiating in good faith for the past several years."

Bad River Band land is east of Ashland, Wis. (WNMU map)
Line 5 carries 540,000 barrels per day of light crude and natural-gas liquids from Superior, Wisc., to Sarnia, Ontario, Williams writes. "Enbridge said the pipeline traverses 12.3 miles of the Bad River reservation and there are 15 tracts of land with expired easements, making up about 20 percent of the right-of-way within the reservation. The tribe has partial ownership in 11 of those. The other 80 percent of tracts within the reservation have easements that expire in 2043 or never expire." (Read more)

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