Line 5? What is that?
Line 5 is a 64 year old pipeline owned by Enbridge that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. Every day, nearly 23 million gallons of oil flow through two aging pipelines in the heart of the Great Lakes.
Okay, why should I care?
According to Food & Water Watch, "the currents in the Straits of Mackinac at peak volumetric transport can be more than 10 times greater than the flow of Niagara Falls and switch bi-directionally from east to west every few days. According to a 2014 University of Michigan study, the location of Line 5 is the "worst possible place" for an oil spill in the Great Lakes."
Our Great Lakes contain 20% of the world's fresh water and provides clean drinking water for over 35 million people. One of every 5 jobs in Michigan is linked to the high quality of fresh water in the Great Lakes and tourism is one of Michigans largest income industries, bringing in more than the oil industry and the farming industry.
According to Oil and Water Don't Mix, "The strong underwater currents, fierce winds, and extreme winter weather conditions - sometimes including feet-thick ice cover - at the Straits make them ecologically sensitive and would make cleanup or recovery from a pipeline spill especially difficult."
All of this to say, our Great Lakes matter and Line 5 is a direct threat to this clean fresh water source.
Back in 2015...
...when I first learned of the pipeline I was pretty devastated. I grew up roaming around the Headlands, Mackinac City and Wilderness State Park. These are areas that would be devastated if the pipeline were to rupture. I was feeling pretty hopeless so I contacted my friend, Stephanie Mabie, who's passionate around water issues.
After chatting with her and seeing the work she'd been doing around this issue, I decided to get involved. I carved this graphic below in benefit of Kent County Water Conservation, founded by Stephanie. We had thousands of folks sign a petition to Shut Down Line 5 and spread the word on the issue during Art Prize (the largest art festival in like, the world, that takes place each year in Grand Rapids, MI).
Fast forward 3 years...
The line is still functioning and continues to be a daily threat to the Great Lakes. We need all the help we can getting this line shut down once and for all. Check out the resources below to get involved:
Michigan League of Conservation Voters
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