Enbridge's Line 5 in the cross-hairs
Wisconsin's Bad River Band has voted against renewing a lease agreement for a section of Enbridge's Line 5 that crosses their reservation. The band has decided the company should no longer be allowed to operate the pipeline due to concerns of a potential oil spill.
Enbridge was granted an easement for the 20 km section of pipe, which expired in 2013. The company has been in discussion with the tribe to renew the lease and says it was surprised to learn of the decision. Enbridge still maintains an agreement with the Bad River Band into the 2040s. The section that expired in 2013 represents only 20% of the company's right-of-way within the reservation.
Line 5 transports 540,000 bbl/day of light crude and natural gas liquids (mostly produced in the Bakken area) from Superior, Wisconsin to refineries in Detroit and Southern Ontario. Line 5 meets over 50% of Michigan's propane demand. The line has been in service since 1953 without incident.
It is unclear where both parties go from here. A spokesperson for Enbridge has said his company continues to negotiate with the tribe while evaluating options for a long-term strategy. Meanwhile, the band has said they will reach out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate options to have the line decommissioned and removed.