For decades, and in some cases for over half a century, A spider web of oil pipelines has been strung all across the Great Lakes pushing oil from parts of Canada into the U.S. – these pipelines have been out-of-sight and out-of-mind.
However, as Bob Dylan would say –‘the times they are a changin’ and so are these pipeline. Enbridge’s network of pipelines, which were once approved because of the need of oil in this region, are now becoming a super highway to transport massive amounts of tar sands oil south and east (for export).
Because of many compounding factors (including spills, social media, news reporting, climate change issues, human rights issues, property rights issues, resource protection, and people simply educating themselves) pipeline operators are facing a wave of opposition for the expansion of new or old pipelines – and rightfully so. This movement is especially true in the Great Lakes, where Enbridge Energy has recently proposed over 12 pipeline expansion or new build projects; all of these proposals coming forth in the 3 years that followed the largest and most costly inland oil spill in U.S. history – where the Kalamazoo River had over 1 million gallons of tar sands bitumen foul its waters, which is still being cleaned up today.
A lack of focus on pipelines safety is not just an issue for Enbridge – In the last five years, alone, over 545 pipeline incidents have been reported to the federal government in the eight Great Lakes States, causing 22 deaths, over 1.3 billion in property damage, and spilling over 4.1 million gallons of liquid fuels into the environment.
Our Great Lakes know no true boundaries and our unity around demanding true pipeline safety should not either. A recent news segment coming out of Ontario, Canada, highlights just how severe the risk is to our region because of the Line 9 pipeline. This segment shows the length at which Enbridge is willing to go in order to push oil east (for export). This two part segment is a must watch for anyone that cares about protecting the future of our Lakes and our freshwater resources:
These oil pipeline are the largest threat to Great Lakes protect and we all need to apply pressure to ensure that our waters, and our communities, are not taking on additional risks. Please consider connecting with my social media sites where I provide the most up-to-date resources to become engaged in pipelines safety and Great Lakes protection, including ways to contact your U.S. Representatives to voice concerns and/or opposition.