Apologies for posting so late! We finished our multi-week outreach trip along Line 5 over a week ago, on Sunday August 21st, at about 4pm in Superior, WI. The last conversation we had with community ended up actually being one of the longest (we spoke with an entire family and they were quite engaged), and led to us running late!
Immediately after, Korey, a local indigenous organizer, led us in a water ceremony right along the Nemadji River in Superior, a mere yards away from where Line 5 starts.
By Monday, the bikers had parted ways and resumed their separate lives. Zach rode back with folks traveling east to Ashland, Iona took a Greyhound bus to Boston on Monday morning, and I stayed in Superior/Duluth a little longer.
Just before we all parted ways, we along with local community members, activists and musicians came together to celebrate our collective work in resistance to dangerous Enbridge pipeline projects in an event called “End of the Line”. As it turns out, Bike the Line was only one of at least three different journeys along Enbridge pipeline infrastructure in the midwest this past summer. Folks from Honor the Earth traveled on canoe, foot and horseback along Enbridge’s proposed Sandpiper route, and a group called “Sacred Water Sacred Land” traveled on foot along the path of Enbridge Line 66. All trips had a common goal of raising awareness as to the issues surrounding these Enbridge projects in the hopes of shutting them down.
“End of the Line” was marked with musicians, food, and general merriment. 🙂
On the Monday immediately following that weekend, local activists and I arranged a few letter deliveries to Enbridge offices in Superior. The letter came from MICATS/Bike the Line, written up just the day before, and is reproduced below:
We are “Bike the Line,” a project of the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MICATS). We’ve just spent most of our summer biking along the entire route of your “line 5” crude oil pipeline, in order to raise awareness about the dangers surrounding its continued operation, particularly in the Straits of Mackinac. We’ve gone door-to-door for 57 days to talk with every community member that lives along it. We’ve even met a few Enbridge employees on the way!
We bike in solidarity with the resistance to your other pipeline projects, in particular the Sacred Stone camp, and the Sandpiper resistance by Honor the Earth.
We’re concerned that the way you do business is endangering communities, land, water, and air. You took 17 hours to shut down Line 6B in 2010 after it ruptured. You’ve been out of compliance with the State of michigan regarding anchors along Line 5 for years now, and are only trying to come back into compliance now after receiving an ultimatom from the Michigan Attorney General Schuette.
In general, we’ve seen how you use “maintenance” as an excuse to replace aging pipelines with bigger ones, turning maintenance into expansion projects, without adequate environmental review and at community expense. And in a time of climate crisis, your business model is further endangering our planet.
With your lack of transparency and abysmal safety record, communities along Line 5 and throughout the Great Lakes agree that Line 5 must be decommissioned. So long as Line 5 and your other reckless projects continue, so will our efforts to stop them.
We urge you to think 7 generations ahead in all that you do. We invite you to contact us to discuss further.
MICATS/Bike the Line
The first office in Superior to receive this letter did so rather kindly and acceptingly, despite the surprise it must’ve been to receive a hand-delivered letter. The second office, on the other hand, wouldn’t even meet with us or allow us to even drop the letter off, and when we asked them where we should mail it to, they said “I don’t know”. They asked for my contact info., which I offered, but alas they haven’t gotten back to me and I suspect they never will. And the third office wouldn’t even talk with us, merely saying somewhat aggressively “you need to leave right now”. Mind you, we weren’t exactly barging in with torches, rather we were quiet, not holding signs or megaphones or even a confrontational stance about us. We just wanted to deliver that letter…
Needless to say, our experiences with the Enbridge offices in Superior were in marked contrast to most all of our experiences engaging with community members along Line 5 all summer – including when it was an Enbridge employee living along Line 5.
Our trip is over. I’m thankful that we made it without any significant mishaps, be it health or bike reliability or logistics… it’s time to take what we’ve learned, and more importantly the new connections we’ve made, and do new meaningful things with them! Cheers.
To talk more about all this, and what could be to come, please feel welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re not on the road anymore, but that doesn’t mean we’re done. 🙂