This summer, folks will trace Enbridge Line 5 and bike over 750 miles from Marysville, Michigan to Superior, Wisconsin.
Detroit, MI – Tuesday, April 5, 2016 – this summer, concerned individuals from across the continent organizing as “Bike the Line” will be on bicycle following the path of a controversial crude oil and natural gas pipeline known as Line 5. They will canvass communities living along the route of the pipeline from Marysville, MI to Superior, WI, and hold community events along the way to raise awareness about risks associated with Line 5’s continued operation. The pipeline is owned and operated by Enbridge, the company responsible for the 2010 Kalamazoo River disaster, wherein over one million gallons of diluted bitumen spilled into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
“Enbridge is a dubious company with an abominable safety record,” organizer Kestrel Marcel said. “There’s mounting concern in Michigan about this dangerous pipeline, and we feel this is the perfect time to mobilize communities living along the pipeline route to help get it shut down.”
Line 5 is 63 years old and was built in 1953 before the Submerged Lands Act, enacted to safeguard the Great Lakes, was established. Line 5 was only built to last 50 years. At the Straits, it splits into twin pipelines directly exposed to its freshwaters. In 2013, Enbridge increased Line 5’s pumping capacity by 10% to 23 million gallons per day. Underwater diver footage obtained by the National Wildlife Federation showed that the pipeline’s Straits crossing was not being maintained. Their video footage shows sections covered in debris and broken support struts hanging in the water. Momentum to shut down Line 5 has been building in recent months: as of mid-March, 25 Michigan communities have passed resolutions calling for its decommissioning.
“We think a lot of the folks living along this pipeline don’t even know it runs right through their communities,” said organizer Murtaza Nek, “so we’ll be knocking on doors all summer to make sure they do and so their voices could be added to the chorus of opposition to it.”
“Bike the Line” is sponsored by the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MICATS), an organization that has invoked controversial forms of protest to raise awareness about the fossil fuel industry in the Great Lakes. MICATS has organized numerous protests against energy giant Enbridge in particular, including two demonstrations which resulted in felony convictions for four of its members for engaging in peaceful protest.