Green Bay, WI – On August 7, concerned community members gathered to demand a stop to the Enbridge oil pipelines Line 3 and Line 5.
Line 5 is an aging oil pipeline that cuts across the ecologically fragile Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes and has spilled at least 33 times (1.1 million gallons of oil) since being built.
Line 3 is another old pipeline that was the source of the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history (1.7 million gallons of oil). Enbridge is attempting to expand Line 3’s capacity by building a new portion through Anishinaabe treaty lands, violating those treaties and threatening fragile wetlands that are the home of the culturally important wild rice.
These pipeline projects are direct attacks on indigenous sovereignty and the treaty rights, as well as an act of violence against the indigenous way of life. Enbridge is building these pipelines to scrape the last bit of profits out of their failing oil infrastructure, at the expense of the indigenous people’s lives.
Paul DeMain, of Indian Country Communications, News from Indian Country, and Indian Country TV, spoke about how Enbridge uses their massive amounts of cash to influence how people think about this issue. He explained how Enbridge offers lucrative deals to any indigenous person they can contact, in addition to paying for out-of-area police forces to attack those trying to protect the land, and flooding the legal system to slow down any litigation until they can finish the pipeline project.
At the core, this issue is about the local, federal and state governments being bought by a large corporation, and being bribed to violate the terms of the land treaties signed by the indigenous peoples.
But as Paul DeMain said, if the terms of the treaty are violated, then the treaty is broken and the land reverts back to indigenous hands.
Enbridge cannot be allowed to force their destructive pipeline projects through the legal system on the back of the company’s accumulated capital.